A ceremony in which a “challenge coin” is passed from one to another is a sacred one. It happens right in front of us, in the blink of an eye and we really don’t know what’s happening. A decorated officer hands what, to us, looks like a quarter, to a soldier. But it’s much more than that.
This coin is part of an intriguing and longstanding military tradition. It represents bravery and honor, but most of all camaraderie. These coins are solid proof of belonging to a unique organization or squadron, and possession of them alone represents membership for life.
The origin of this tradition is not well known, but it has continued for many decades and there is no end in sight. If you are currently serving in the military it is tradition that you have yours on your person at all times, helping to build confidence and uphold camaraderie.
Today, almost anyone wearing a military uniform will be able to slam his coin down when challenged in any bar, club or camp around the world. When the initial coin is slapped down, tradition demands that anyone else must quickly respond by slapping down their own coins or pay the penalty – purchase drinks… for everyone.
Although these coins are finding their way outside of military culture, to other organizations, their tradition will always be enriched in our nations serviceman.