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Posted: 3/24/2006 8:12:44 AM EDT
Before entering the service in '73 I was a service brat, then spent 4 years on active duty '73-'77. During all that time I never heard anyone say anything about challenge coins. I would think if one of my friends had received one I'd have heard about it. Are they a new thing or were you sworn to secrecy when you received one?
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 11:01:11 AM EDT
If I tell you, I'd have to kill you.

I don't know the exact history of them, but IIRC, they really began in the SpecOps community. Like everything else SpecOps does, someone from Big Army wanted to imitate, probably in order to raise morale and espirit de corps. So, they started handing out challenge coins and the phenomenon caught hold. Nowadays, you get a coin for just about anything.

You uncovered a cache of arms, ammo and explosive in Kosovo? Here, have a BN coin while we give your squad leader, who did nothing more than lay it out on a poncho for the Stars and Stripes photographer, an ARCOM.

You repaired a bunch of old deuce-and-a-halves, so that they could be turned in to the depot? Here, have a BN coin.

Both of those are examples that I personally witnessed. The first incident was one in which I was directly involved, but that's another story.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 11:05:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 11:08:17 AM EDT by Tominator425]
According to one story, challenge coins originated during World War I. American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in mid-term to join the war.

In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck.

Shortly after acquiring the medallions, the pilots’ aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck.

In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines.

With great difficulty, he crossed no-man's land. Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Unfortunately, saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine.

Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times.

Here is the "challenge part" - This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner - a challenger would ask to see the medallion. If the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink.

This tradition continued on throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive.


This is the story that I heard, even as recently in a leadership school a couple of weeks ago (got a challenge coin there as well). Hope it helps!
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 2:19:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 2:20:53 PM EDT by QUIB]

Originally Posted By OEF_VET:
You uncovered a cache of arms, ammo and explosive in Kosovo? Here, have a BN coin while we give your squad leader, who did nothing more than lay it out on a poncho for the Stars and Stripes photographer, an ARCOM.

You repaired a bunch of old deuce-and-a-halves, so that they could be turned in to the depot? Here, have a BN coin.

Both of those are examples that I personally witnessed. The first incident was one in which I was directly involved, but that's another story.



Oh, those two stories sound all to familiar! I’ve been BF’d the same way!

But you know what, recognition on the "I love me wall" or not……..I know what I did.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 9:36:31 AM EDT
try this one... the Capt knows the General will be visiting, has the whole flight cleaning and doing BS details IN IRAQ to make it look "pretty"
General comes, "nice shop" gives the CAPT a coin, for all the hard work of the lower enlisted... not so much as a damned thankyou.

I HATE THIS DAMN PLACE

I wanna go home and see my son.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 10:24:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 2T2_Crash:

I HATE THIS DAMN PLACE

I wanna go home and see my son.




Yeah, yeah, we heard that already....be happy that you were at least home to see your son. There are many out there who have never even met their own children due to deployment. It can always be worse, look for the positive and drive on. :)

Challange coins; damn military contracted movers stole all of mine during my last PCS move! Bastages!!!
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 8:21:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 2T2_Crash:
try this one... the Capt knows the General will be visiting, has the whole flight cleaning and doing BS details IN IRAQ to make it look "pretty"
General comes, "nice shop" gives the CAPT a coin, for all the hard work of the lower enlisted... not so much as a damned thankyou.

I HATE THIS DAMN PLACE

I wanna go home and see my son.



Hate to break it to you, but that is the Military period.. Home or deployed...

Hell, thats life.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 8:58:37 AM EDT
Our police department issues a challenge coin to each of us each year. No one ever uses it.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 9:52:01 AM EDT
you guys are right.

ive got a small collection started, my favorite is the JSOAD coin i got on my first deployment, the spec-ops 130s baby!
I know its a BIG thing in the AF, but is it starting to get big in other branches, or has it always been that way?
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 4:08:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TXK9:
Our police department issues a challenge coin to each of us each year. No one ever uses it.



+1

I have a coin given to us by the Chief (Department coin) and also a team coin. We have used the coins from time to time for certain undesirable assignments or such, but not used all that much. I actually have four right now (Rifle school, Gallagher-Westfall leadership school, Dept. and Team) and keep them in my safe, as I do not want to lose them.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 6:23:29 PM EDT
I was in the USMC from '86 to '90 (Infantry) and had never heard of them. It wasn't until about a year ago that I knew they existed.

Dan
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 7:01:36 PM EDT
It took me 4 years to get one from an E-9 ,now within the last 6 months I have gotten one from a O-6 and O-8.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 8:04:44 PM EDT
I've got a very nice one from the Joint Chiefs, but I don't exactly take it out and about with me. Kindof hard to replace and very hard to beat. Only bring it out when I'm fairly confident that there will be a challenging, otherwise, I just have a few lower grade (2-star) coins.

NTM
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 11:35:10 PM EDT
They were big in the Army back in the 80's. Especially more so with overseas units, particularly European area.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 2:11:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 2T2_Crash:

I know its a BIG thing in the AF, but is it starting to get big in other branches, or has it always been that way?



I got my first one in 92.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 8:45:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:
I've got a very nice one from the Joint Chiefs, but I don't exactly take it out and about with me. Kindof hard to replace and very hard to beat. Only bring it out when I'm fairly confident that there will be a challenging, otherwise, I just have a few lower grade (2-star) coins.

NTM



Joint Chief?

Pssh....

I got a Rummy coin.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 8:58:24 AM EDT
Story i was told:

During WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc... Soldiers woudl carry a spare bullet. That was the bullet that "would save your life". The bullet with your name on it. If you had it, then it woudl never be used against you. When spending time in the rear, havign drinks, you woudl challenge the other guy to make sure he had his bullet with him. Well, men being men, eventually it went from carrying bullets to large AA shells and grenades. Soon, they started using symbolic coins for safety sake.

That's the story i was told.

I'm not a big coin collector, but there is one i cherish. It was presented to me from Maj. Gen Harrell. Commander, CFSOCC. The unit logo was a knife with a scroll "Molon Labe". Truly an awesome character.

Link Posted: 3/28/2006 8:59:22 AM EDT
There was actually a neat little program on some channel that had a bit on challenge coins, and apparently it can date back to the pre20h century British Army, especially the colonial troops.

Whenever a soldier did something particularly well, their officer would be aawarded a medal (enlisted didn't get kudos back in the day) the officer would cut the actual metal piece from the medal, and keep the ribbon for hsi dress uniform, and would present the "coin" to whatever enlisted man he felt earned him this medal, as away of throwing somethanks to the troops.

Thats just what i saw/read from somewhere/voices-in-head.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:52:35 AM EDT
I got one from our BN CSM for sharpening his Masters Of Defense Gucci/tactical/combat automatic knife. Got two when I graduated Ft. Knox in the EIA program. That's about it...

No challenge coins for our HHC staff, though. They all got BSM's for sitting on their asses all year in Iraq. Nice...
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 11:05:30 AM EDT
In the 13 years that I've served in the service, I have received only 1 coin from the 65th RRC Commander during a change of command (Regiment changed from RSC to RRC) ceremony that me and some other guys worked as escorts and doing TCP at the ceremony site.

I got close to getting one while I served in Iraq deom the 300th MP BN Cdr., unfortunately he ran out of coins by the time he got to my platoon and only the senior NCOs and the platoon leader got them

Well, my best bet is to try and get it through eGay; Man, what kind of crap is that????

Well, whatever; coins are no substitude to medals and promotions.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 12:57:58 PM EDT
Here are mine:



L-R 1-1 CAV Squadron Coin, 1-1 CAV Desert Storm, 1st AD Desert Storm





L-R 1st AD Desert Storm, 1-1 CAV Desert Storm, 1-1 CAV Squadron Coin
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 1:05:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 1:26:40 PM EDT by bigsapper]
Hey QUIB! I got one of those 1AD DS coins.





Link Posted: 3/29/2006 2:29:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bigsapper:
Hey QUIB! I got one of those 1AD DS coins.



Iron Soldier!
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 2:32:21 PM EDT
I have a few. My command coin, one from CINCPACFLEET, A Lockheed Sea Shadow coin, C130J, And a few others.

Pretty popular in the USN. And the rules are sly.. First you never hand the coin to someone. You either toss it, slide it, etc. No hand to hand or that person can keep it. Also, if asked to produce your coin and do not you buy the drink but if you produce your coin then you get a free one from the challenger.

Link Posted: 3/29/2006 5:45:39 PM EDT
In Military Airlift Command we didn't have coins in maintenance but the aircrews were big on challenging each other. Especially at a bar. I remember one crew I was TDY with that was going crazy challenging one of the crew everywhere- the guy ALWAYS had his coin.

They finally resorted to challenging him while he was in the shower. The entire crew snuck in his room, pulled the curtain back on the shower and threw their coins down. The crewmember in question didn't even turn around- he just reached around with one hand, pulled his butt cheeks apart, and the coin fell out on the shower floor. Then he went back to washing while the rest of the crew slunk out with their tails between their legs.
Link Posted: 4/2/2006 3:19:30 PM EDT
Yeah it started as an Army thing. They used to be simple-looking, like the ones above, but were hardly given out.

However, in the mid to late 90s I started seeing multi-colored coins sealed with a plastic laminate/blob (that seems to be popular today). Now everyone and their mother hands them out... Navy, Marines, Airforce, Coast Guard, State militias, police, fire, mall ninjas.

Heck, even the NRA sent me one.

Link Posted: 4/3/2006 3:00:21 PM EDT
Our Supply Sergeant had a damn Presidential Coin. Of course he was in the honor guard in Washington D.C. One of my other friends got a coin from Rummy.
Link Posted: 4/5/2006 5:22:26 AM EDT
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