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What Are Challenge Coins?

July 03, 2020
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Seeing this title, many readers may indicate that they don’t even know what “challenge coins” are or how they are used in the modern army. In fact, challenge coins are very commonly used in many fields, and some domestic military fans who love military collections also have many physical collections of challenge coins. In fact, the five major services of the U.S. Armed Forces, the federal and state law enforcement agencies, and the fire department all have a long tradition of using this coin. These coins usually carry the logo or motto of the production unit, which represents the unit’s overall image and even core values. And often exchange, display and collect among the members of the unit, instill a sense of pride from the collective honor for the winners.

"A story about the source of challenge coins"

The historical roots of the "Challenge Coin" can be traced back to the generals of the Roman Empire by giving coins to reward soldiers in recognition of their achievements. The use in the U.S. military originated from World War I. The most well-known story about the challenge coin came from an American fighter pilot who was shot down and landed on hostile German territory during World War I. The pilot was captured and held in a temporary detention facility, but soon the British bombing gave him a chance to escape. He successfully avoided German patrols in civilian clothes and reached the front line. He ventured across the no man's land and found a French outpost. Because spies and saboteurs have always troubled the French, the French consider him a saboteur and are ready to shoot him. Before the execution, he showed the executioner the only personal item he carried-a challenge coin from his squadron. A French soldier recognized the US badge on the challenge coin, so they suspended the execution and finally confirmed it. The true identity of the American pilot. In the end, a bottle of French red wine replaced the bullet that was originally intended for him. All this, thanks to the challenge coin he carried.

"Challenge coin that has developed so far"

Today, the popularity of Military Challenge Coin has developed into a representative symbol of American military personnel, and it is widely used by military active, retired, and civilian personnel. Throughout the career of a soldier, it will be possible to meet and obtain a large number of challenge coins. For example, this year the U.S. Air Force Academy held a ceremony to award graduation commemorative challenge coins for its students when they graduated, and all graduates received a specially crafted challenge coin. At the same time, the Challenge Coin also serves as a sign of welcoming and respect to VIPs and special guests as units or senior officials. William Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, and now President Donald Trump have examples of presenting challenge coins to guests and diplomats visiting the White House. President Trump also released a new commemorative challenge coin before North Korea and US nuclear summits held in Singapore in 2018.

Challenge Coin

Challenge Coin

"Challenging Currency Culture for Continuous Development"

The challenge currency culture of the United States has been extended to other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Some military departments in my country have also produced similar challenge coins, but it is customary for people to call him "commemorative coins". The earliest challenge coin known to exist is a simple brass coin, and the logo and text remain almost indistinguishable to this day. Today's military challenge coin has evolved from a seemingly simple design to a more complex and colorful variety, mainly due to the advancement of manufacturing technology that has been perfected over the years. More and more unit leaders have realized that a small, personalized challenge coin can build unity between teams and also promote morale throughout the unit. But not everyone in the government and military likes the idea of challenging coins. When the current US Secretary of Defense James Mattis inspected the front line last time, when he was asked if he would bring challenge coins to the soldiers of his inspection force At that time, he said very directly-"No, I am saving money for the bomb we need."

Digression: Nowadays, many American badge companies (such as the well-known Vanguard) will provide the military with a unit challenge currency customization service, but the final flow of these orders is mostly China and South Korea. Yes, yes, China is almost the largest custom metal coin supplier of US military challenge coins.


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