How Come They Never Got Promoted? Col. Gaddafi, Cap’n Crunch, and Col. Sanders

A Facebook thread asked why Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, having been the dictator of Libya for so long, never arranged for his promotion above the rank of colonel. It’s a good and amusing question, and I was surprised that no one to my knowledge had asked it before. Seriously, why not promote himself to general?

The same thread then mentioned a couple of other people who never got promoted. Why is the cereal still Cap’n Crunch after all these years? Why, in spite of its popularity, did it never become Admiral Crunch? In that case, there may be a logical explanation. Like most other things, it is the president’s fault. According to, “Officers above the grade of captain are appointed, not promoted, by the President of the United States to admiral, vice admiral and rear admiral.”

But that still doesn’t explain about Colonel Sanders…

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  • Brad Matthies

    Same for the Army. The next rank after Colonel is Brigadier General and those are political appointments. Given his penchant for greasy food, one would have thought that Bill Clinton would have promoted the Colonel to Brigadier General.  

    • Edward Bashaw

      Nope, you are over-interpreting promotion.  General Officer promotions are sent to Congress for approval after a service specific promotion board has met and prepared a list of recommended officers.  The “political” nature is fairly absent from the process.  The most recent instances where that charge could be levied was when officers were put up for a “star” who between nomination and consideration had allegations of misconduct levied against them, then congress held their promotions until the charges wer disposed of.

  • Matthew Kelley

    Gaddafi wanted to maintain his “man of the people” image, even while living in a giant, fortified compound. Harlan Sanders was never actually in the military. “Colonel” was a nickname, kind of like “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. And I’m pretty sure Cap’n Crunch is a drug smuggler. That stuff is addictive!

    • Edward Bashaw

      Col. Sanders is a “Kentucky Colonel”, it is an honorary association in Kentucky open to anyone who has distinguished themselves in any field.  I should know I am one myself.  Col. Sanders just leveraged it better than anyone and recognized the power of the image of the retired Souther Planter with the white suit and string tie.

  • Erlend

    Well he actually did promoted himself from captain to colonel. I believe he did so as this was Nasser’s rank when he took over- whom Gaddafi tried to emulate.

  • Kerry

    Plus ‘Captain Crunch’ is an alliteration so it is more pleasing to the ear than ‘Admiral Crunch’–the average six year old probably is more favorable to good sounding than a higher rank advertising-wise.

  • Anonymous

    Why didn’t Col. Sanders get promoted? Col. Sanders’ chicken.