Was Colonel Sanders Really A Colonel?

Everyone knows Colonel Sanders as the mascot of the popular Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food chain. Sanders' likeness is plastered somewhere in every restaurant, and he's also a fundamental part of the brand's logo. They are inextricably linked.

Harland Sanders founded KFC back in 1952 in Salt Lake City, Utah, but according to the KFC website, Sanders had been cooking his southern-style fried chicken for years before finally opening up his first franchise. In 1930, Sanders actually purchased a motel, which is where he began serving his chicken to the public, and by 1939, he'd perfected the recipe that we know and love today.

Even though it took another 13 years for the first official KFC to open its doors, it didn't take long before KFC franchises started popping up throughout the country in the 1950s. Sanders managed the brand until 1964, when he retired and sold the fast food chain.

Today, Sanders is still the face of KFC, and everybody knows him as Colonel Sanders. But was he actually a colonel?

Yes, Colonel Sanders was technically a colonel

Though it might come as a surprise, Colonel Sanders really did earn his name; he didn't make it up. According to History, Sanders served in the military but was later named an honorary colonel (that still counts, right?). Sanders reportedly faked his birth date in order to enlist in the Army, and he spent several months serving in Cuba in 1906. However, it wasn't until nearly 30 years later, in 1935, that Sanders was given the name we refer to him as today. Then-Kentucky governor Ruby Laffoon gave Sanders the honorary colonel title about three decades after he was honorably discharged from the military.

History also reports that Sanders' well-known white suit and string tie look didn't become a part of his persona until after earning the ceremonial title. He reportedly changed his look to include the white suit and tie in order to better embrace his new colonel label, cementing his status on the KFC logo in the outfit that he made so famous.