What are challenge coins ?

What are challenge coins ?The Marines have a long and rich history in America. They are among the most recognized armed forces groups in the world, when anyone, in any country, hears the words “the Marines” almost always thinks of the United States Marine Corps. Even the hymn of the Marine Corps is the oldest of any of the branches of the military.And one last bit to start this off, when I think of the Marines the first image that pops in my mind is the one above this paragraph. With the rich history that the Marine Corps has it is no wonder that among challenge coins, Marine Challenge Coins are among the most coveted and respected.

what are challenge coins

The Birth of the Marine Corps Challenge Coin

One of the most well known stories among the history buff circles is that of an Army Air Corps pilot in World War I. The daring young pilot was given a special bronze medallion by a wealthy lieutenant that he wore around his neck in a leather pouch on all of his missions. Well, as was all too often the case he was shot down over enemy held territory and was captured by the Germans.As he was strip searched by the Germans they took all forms of identification from him, leaving him only his medallion around his neck.

Eventually he was able to escape his captors and disguised in civilian clothing he made his way to a French outpost to be rescued. However, because of the many instances of enemy soldiers dressing in similar disguises attacking the outpost the French took him as the enemy. Not speaking French him-self and not having any forms of ID to prove who he was the French planned to execute him.

The only thing he had on him to show which side he was on was the medallion hanging around his neck. Upon showing the French his medallion instead of killing him they gave him a bottle of wine. Probably the best tasting wine he ever had!

Since then the challenge coin has been used by those in the military as a special token for a job well done, a very special honor, or to prove one’s allegiance. During “coin checks” members of a unit all must show their coins and if anyone fails to produce theirs they have to buy a round of drinks for everyone.