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What is a military challenge coin?

October 30, 2019
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Challenge coins are very common in many fields. Some domestic military fans who love military collections also have many physical collections of challenging coins. These coins usually carry the logo or motto of the production unit, representing the overall image of the unit and even the core values. And often exchange, display and collect among the members of the unit, instilling a sense of pride from the collective honor for the winners.

The historical roots of the “challenge coin” can be traced back to the generals of the Roman Empire who rewarded soldiers by giving coins to recognize their achievements. The use of the US military, probably from the First World War, was the most common story of the challenge coin from an American fighter pilot who was shot down during the First World War and forced to land on hostile German territory. The pilot was captured and detained in a temporary detention facility, but soon the British bombing gave him a chance to escape. He successfully shunned German patrols in civilian costumes and reached the front line, risking past the no-man's land and discovering a French outpost. Since spies and saboteurs have been plaguing the French, the French think he is a saboteur and is ready to shoot him. Before the execution, he showed his nephew the only personal belongings he carried – a challenge coin from his squadron. A French soldier recognized the American military pin badge on the challenge currency, so they suspended the execution and finally confirmed 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 thanks to the challenge coin he brought.

   Challenge coins

Challenge coins

Today, the popularity of the challenge coin has evolved into a symbol of the representation of US military personnel, which is widely used in active, decommissioned, and civilian personnel in the military. Throughout the career of a soldier, it will be possible to encounter and acquire a large number of challenging coins. For example, this year, the US Air Force Academy held a ceremony to award graduation commemorative coins to its students at the time of graduation. All graduates received a special production challenge coin. At the same time, the challenge currency also serves as a symbol of welcome and respect to VIPs and special guests as a unit or senior official. William Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, until the current president of Donald Trump, gave examples of challenging coins to guests and diplomats visiting the White House. President Trump also released a new commemorative challenge coin before the North Korean and American Nuclear Summit in Singapore in 2018.

The US challenge currency culture has been extended to other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Some military departments in China have also produced similar challenge coins, but it is customary for Chinese to prefer to call him " souvenir coin." The earliest known coin that exists is a simple brass coin, and the sign and text remain so hard to distinguish. Today's military challenge coins have evolved from seemingly simple designs to more complex and colorful varieties, thanks in large part to advances in 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 at the same time promote morale throughout the unit.

Today, many American badge companies (such as the well-known Vanguard) will provide units to the military to challenge the coin-made services, but the final flow of these orders is mostly China and South Korea. China is almost the largest producer of US military challenge coins.

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