Dre'Mont Jones Jersey  The Challenge Coin Tradition: Do You Know How It Began?

The Challenge Coin Tradition: Do You Know How It Began?

Home / The Challenge Coin Tradition: Do You Know How It Began?
The Challenge Coin Tradition: Do You Know How It Began?

The Challenge Coin Tradition: Do You Know How It Began?

In case you’ve been in the army or worked for the Defense Division, you recognize what a challenge coin is. They’ve been an American army tradition for a century, meant to instill unit pleasure, improve esprit de corps and reward hard work and excellence.


The cash represent anything from a small unit to the offices of prime leaders, such because the protection secretary. There are additionally cash made for special events, anniversaries and even nonmilitary leaders.

Many service members and veterans proudly show challenge cash at their desks or homes, showing off the various missions they’ve been on, the top leaders they’ve met and the items for which they’ve worked.

However how to beat greenwood village coin challenge did this tradition get began?

I used to be curious, so I checked with the National Protection University, Pentagon librarians and historians, as well as those with the U.S. Army Center of Navy History and the Naval History and Heritage Command. These institutions couldn’t discover any written records, in all probability because the challenge coin tradition didn’t begin as an officially sanctioned activity. So I dove into the trendy-day oral histories of the world – also known as the internet – to see what I might find.

The Most Common Fantasy
Essentially the most well-identified story that the internet produced linked the challenge coin tradition back to World War I. As the U.S. started building up its Army Air Service, many men volunteered to serve. A type of males was a rich lieutenant who wanted to provide every member of his unit a memento, so he ordered several coin-sized bronze medallions to be made.

The lieutenant put his own medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore round his neck. A short time later, his aircraft was shot down over Germany. He survived however was captured by a German patrol, who took all of his identifiable objects so he would haven't any method to establish himself if he escaped. What they didn’t take was the small pouch with the medallion.

The lieutenant was taken to a small town near the entrance lines of the war. Despite his lack of ID, he managed to find some civilian clothing and escaped anyway, finally stumbling into a French outpost. Wary of anybody not in uniform, the French soldiers didn’t acknowledge his accent and immediately assumed he was an enemy.

They initially deliberate to execute him, since they couldn’t ID him. However the lieutenant, remembering he nonetheless had the small pouch round his neck, pulled out the coin to show the soldiers his unit’s insignia. One of many Frenchmen acknowledged that insignia, so he was spared.


Instead of being executed, the lieutenant was given a bottle of wine, probably as a form of reparation for his initial treatment. When he finally made it back to his squadron, it grew to become a tradition for all service members to carry a unit-emblazoned coin always, just in case.

Not Everybody Believes That Depiction
While that story sounds cool, Air Power Historical Research Agency archivist Barry Spink isn’t shopping for it.

He said he’d been told within the Nineties that the tradition started in Vietnam, when an Military infantry-run bar tried to maintain non-soldiers away by forcing "outsiders" to buy drinks for the entire bar if they couldn’t prove they had been in combat. The "proof" started with enemy bullets, then bought a little out of control with grenades, rockets and unexploded ordnance. So a coin-sized item emblazoned with the unit’s insignia became the accepted type of proof.