The History Of Challenge Coins

By Ruth on November 14, 2017 in history
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Being a military spouse is not the easiest thing to do, I guess we can all agree on this one. However, if you just sit back and think about it for a minute, I’m sure all of you could recall thousands of reasons why neither one of you wouldn’t want to be anything else.

The feeling of being awarded a challenge coin by your or your spouse’s superior could just be one of those reasons. Those little yet powerful things that many of you probably have somewhere in your locker remind us of all the heroic deeds and everlasting memory of our loved ones.

Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane and see how things with challenge coins even started.

In this blog post, we will take a look at how and where challenge coins practice was first introduced, and take a quick glance at challenge coins history of today described by Embleholics.

Inception Of Challenge Coins

There are certain beliefs that practice of giving coins to individuals of great valor and courage stretches back to Roman Empire. It is known that Roman soldiers were presented coins from their superiors as a token of their outstanding courage and contribution in battle.

This was meant to be a sort of payment and soldiers were free to use those coins with an insignia of Roman Empire mint on it to buy wine, bread, and other necessities. However, because of their great rarity, soldiers who were given these coins resorted to rather keeping instead of spending them.

More prevalent theory on challenge coins origins is the one associated with US flying squadrons in World War I. Namely, when US army decided to enter the war in 1917, lots of Americans volunteered.

Lieutenant of the American flying squadron decided to present each one of his pilots a medallion struck in solid bronze. Those medallions were the shape of coins and had the logo of US flying squadron engraved on it as a way of recognition.

Several days later, one US aircraft was gunned down by a Nazi infantry and the pilot was captured by the Germans. When they made him a war prisoner they stripped him of all his identifications.

However, young pilot succeeded to escape somehow and with great difficulties made it to the other side of the battlefront which was held by French troops. Since he had no documents on him, the French thought that he was a spy and decided to execute him.

It was then when US pilot showed them the coin that was given to him prior to his departure from his lieutenant. This saved him from execution and certain death and bought him enough time to prove his identity. The pilot made it back home safely.

Conclusion

As we can see, history of challenge coins is indeed a history of courage and bravery. This is one reason more to be extremely proud to have those in our families. They have great sentimental value and are forming an unbreakable bond with our loved ones and our country.

They are here for us to always remember the great heroism of our people and to rekindle connections with our loved ones that were presented these coins in the first place. They will be remembered and we must fight to never forget what they’ve done for us.

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

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