Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Challenge Coins

Challenge Coins

I'm rather miffed since in my 8 years in the Navy, I'd never even heard of such a thing. It's a good thing there are websites out there where I can build my collection. 

A challenge coin has roots stretching back many years. The most familiar story (to everyone except me, apparently!!) is about a fighter pilot who was shot down during WWI and had to land behind enemy lines. He was captured by the Germans and held in a detention facility that was later attacked by British forces. He managed to escape, but had no personal belongings except a coin he wore in a pouch. This coin had been given to him by his commanding officer and showed his American unit insignia. So when he was caught by the French they were ready to execute him as a spy, until a French officer recognized the insignia on the coin and stopped the execution until they could could validate his identity. 

Apparently there are typical drunken sailor rules involved, too.  (source)

1. Rules of the coin game must be given or explained to all new coin holders. 

2. The coin MUST be carried at all times. You can be challenged for it anywhere, at any time. You must produce the coin without taking more than 4 steps to produce it. 

3. When challenging, the challenger must state whether it is for a single drink or a round of drinks. 

4. Failure to produce a coin, for whatever reason, results in a bought round or single drinks (whatever the challenger stated). This type of transaction could be expensive, so hold onto your coin. Once the offender (coinless challengee) has bought the drink or round, they can't be challenged again. 

5. If all that are challenged produce their coins, the challenger loses and must buy the drinks for all respondents. This too can be expensive, so challenge wisely. 

6. Under no circumstances can a coin be handed to another in response to a challenge. If a person gives their coin to another, that person can now keep the coin -- it's theirs!!! However, if a person places the coin down and another person picks it up to examine it, that is not considered giving and the examiner is honor-bound to place the coin back where they got it. The examiner can't challenge while they hold another's coin. After negotiating a "reasonable" ransom", the examiner must return the member's coin. 

7. If a coin is lost, replacement is up to the individual. A new coin should be acquired at the earliest opportunity -- losing a coin and not replacing it doesn't relieve a member of his or her responsibilities. This is especially true if your fellow CPO's know that you traditionally carry a coin. 

8. There are no exceptions to the rules. They apply to clothed or un-clothed. One step and an arms reach are allowed.

9. A Coin is a Coin. They are not belt buckles, key chains or necklaces. Coins worn in a holder around the neck are valid.

10. The coin should be controlled at all times. Giving a coin to just anyone is like opening a fraternity to just anyone. It is an honor to be given a coin, let's keep it that way. A given or awarded coin is of more personal value than a purchased coin. 

11. No holes may be drilled in a coin. 

12. The above rules apply to anyone who is worthy to be given/awarded a coin, has a purchased coin, or who is known to be a previous coinholder. 

These are some of the coins on my wish list....  They're very detailed and beautiful. 

The Sailor's Creed. 

Shellback, initiation for crossing the equator for the first time.  
More on that for my "S" post!

My second ship.  
I haven't found a coin for my first one - USS Canopus AS-34.  

This was my rank. 
I also haven't been able to locate a postal clerk coin - since that's what rate I was. 

This one sort of peeves me.  I was a postal clerk, which (other than mail gets hauled on planes / helos) has nothing to do with anything air crew-related.  However I did get my Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist pin - which meant many hours of training & study about planes and helos and finally an oral review board and written test.  I understand that they sort of belong together, but it doesn't mean I have to like it!


  1. Very interesting post. The coins are amazing.

    1. I had no idea they were such a big deal until I started seeing posts on a Facebook Group about them!

  2. Interesting subject....thanks for sharing!

    1. I looked closer at a Detroit Red Wings coin I have & it came with a modified list of "rules" - so it's not just a military thing!

  3. Interesting subject....thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow - detailed rules. However rule 2 and 8 sort of have a conflict. 2 says 4 steps, but 8 says a step and arms reach. The coins are beautiful.
    Sandy (A2Z)

  5. Soldiers of Navy also bet challenges on the coins and Navy Challenge coins are carried by them always.


Leave a note - they make me feel loved!