Custom challenge coins are described as medallions or small coins that display an emblem or logo of an organization. They are usually carried by the members of the institution or organization. Customarily, the coins are given as a proof of membership in order to boost team spirit. On top of that, some service members have also developed a habit of collecting these challenge coins because of their design, meaning and sentimental value. In military practice, the challenge coins are often offered by unit commanders to unit members who deserve to be recognized for their special accomplishment.
How did the custom challenge coins come about?
The history of these challenge coins seemed to be quite interesting and fascinating as they were first used during World War I by the American military. The very first challenge coins that were utilized during the world war were constructed out of bronze and were covered with gold plating. These small medallions or coins are used to symbolize particular membership or positions in the military or in an organization. Since then, they have become well-known among Americans, popular enough for people to be enticed to gather them for their collection.
The primary use of the coins is for challenging. Yet, apart from that, they may also be used and given as an award for exceptional performance of duty or loyal service. In general, they are really a great instrument to build the morale of every member. On the other hand, regarding their use in the modern day American military, using custom challenge coins most likely started out amongst Special Forces unit in the course of the Vietnam War. This challenge coin tradition was passed on through the airborne group.
By the early nineteen-eighties, it was then passed on to the seventy-fifth Ranger Regiment. When the different officials were reassigned as they moved on in their careers, they have instilled in them the tradition of giving a unit coin as an award for their deeds that were deserving of acknowledgement and recognition, yet were not enough to merit the soldiers an official medal of honor. The challenge coins had not been very popular before the First Persian Gulf War during the 1990 to 1991. Yet, since then, they have progressively gained popularity.
Bulldog Challenge Coin
The Bulldog challenge coin was one of the very popular of its kind in the US Air Force. It was available only to the tail gunners enlisted at B-52. Since the B-52 gunner post was eliminated in 1991, this renowned challenge coin has grown to be more uncommon.
This Bulldog coin was offered to gunners when they graduated from their technical training in the Air Force and when they joined the Gunners Association. During the earlier times of bombers, a nugget or a bean was the one being used. The coin signifies the characteristics of bravery and strength as resembled by the Bulldog, which was also the gunner’s official mascot. In addition, the Bulldog coin was also offered to selected honorary gunners, commonly the leader and the commanders, who depicted the nature of the bulldog.
A number of coin enthusiasts purchase them for their numismatic worth. The custom challenge coins presented as accolades for achievements are usually offered during a handshake. A handshake involved transferring from the giver’s right hand to the awardees’ right hand. Additionally, it is also standard for the giver to share the story behind or the explanation about the reason why the recipient is given the coin award.
Probably the most enormous collection of custom challenge coins related to the Army Engineer can be found in a huge cabinet in the AEA or Army Engineer Association’s regimental shop. This store was situated in the Engineer Museum at the residence of the Engineer Regiment. The challenge coins were generously donated by the customers of the store, who have visited ever since it started out in the late nineteen-eighties.
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