Answers by Unit Coins
"Coin checks are permitted at any time and at any place. You are advised to keep your unit coin within arm's length at all times. " - Unit Coins
Challenge Coins Questions and Answers
What is a challenge coin?
A challenge coin is a custom made coin which has been specifically designed and produced for a individual group.
Who uses challenge coins?
Challenge coins are widely used by all branches of the military and government. They are used by virtually every department of law enforcement, as well as firefighters and EMT. Commercial business use challenge coins as well as churches, schools, scouting groups and private clubs.
What are challenge coins used for?
Challenge coins are used for many things. The primary use for a challenge coin is to recognize a person for a job well done, usually above and beyond the call. They can be used to show thanks to an entire unit for a deployment to a hostile zone. In the private sector they are also used as an award for a job well done and sometimes as a fund raiser.
What is the origin of the military coin?
The most commonly held view is that the tradition of the military coin began in the United States Army Air Service (a forerunner of the current United States Air Force). Air warfare was a new phenomenon during World War I, when the army created flying squadrons and manned them with volunteer pilots from every walk of civilian life. Most pilots were wealthy Ivy League students who were drawn by the adventure and romance of the new form of warfare. One Ivy Leaguer, a wealthy lieutenant, ordered small, solid-bronze coins struck, which he then presented to the other pilots in his squadron as mementos of their service together. This military coin was gold-plated, bore the squadron's insignia, and was quite valuable. One of the pilots in the squadron, who had never owned anything like the coin, placed it in a leather pouch he wore around his neck for safekeeping. A short while later, this pilot's aircraft was heavily damaged by ground fire, forcing him to land behind enemy lines and allowing him to be captured by the Germans. The Germans confiscated the personal belongings from his pockets, but they didn't catch the leather pouch around his neck. On his way to a permanent prisoner of war facility, he was held overnight in a small German-held French village near the front. During the night, the town was bombarded by the British, creating enough confusion to allow the pilot to escape. The pilot avoided German patrols by donning civilian attire, but all of his identification had been confiscated so he had no way to prove his identity. With great difficulty, he sneaked across no-man's land and made contact with a French patrol. Unfortunately for him, the French had been on the lookout for German saboteurs dressed as civilians. The French mistook the American pilot for a German saboteur and immediately prepared to execute him. Just in time, he remembered his leather pouch containing his military coin. He showed the coin to his would-be executioners. His French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the coin and delayed the execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him, they gave him a bottle of wine. Once the pilot safely returned to his squadron, it became a tradition for all members to carry their coin at all times. To ensure compliance, the pilots would challenge each other to produce the coin. If the challenged couldn't produce the coin, he was required to buy a drink of choice for the challenger; if the challenged could produce the coin, the challenger would purchase the drink.
What are the challenge coin rules?
The first challenge coin rule to be observed is , what is a coin? A coin is a coin. It is not a coin that has been attached to a belt buckle, a keychain, a coffee mug, or a paperweight. These items are not unit coins. They are belt buckles, key chains, coffee mugs and paperweights. Challenge coins are kept on one's person as coins. The only exception to this rule is a coin placed in a holder or clasp and worn around the neck like a necklace. This is considered a valued use of a coin and would still be considered a challenge coin. The "coin check" consists of a challenge and a response. The "challenge" maybe either verbal or visual. A verbal coin check is initiated by holding your coin in the air and stating, so that everyone present can hear, that you are initiating a coin check. A visual coin check is initiated by firmly placing your coin on a flat surface with a force sufficient to let everyone know that they are being challenged. The correct response to the challenge is to produce your unit coin and show it to the challenger. Please note that only your correct unit coin is an acceptable response to a challenge. Unit coins from other units are not acceptable. If you are challenged and cannot respond to the challenge in the accepted manor you must buy a round of drinks for the challenger and all members of the group being challenged. If everyone being challenged responds in the correct manor then the challenger must buy a round of drinks for all those he challenged. Failure to buy a round is considered a despicable crime and may require that you turn in your coin to the issuing agency. Coin checks are permitted at any time and at any place. You are advised to keep your unit coin within arm's length at all times.
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