Air Force

March 22, 2012

Challenge coins — history in the palm of your hand

Tags:

Credit: (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman DeAndre Curtiss/Released)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — An Airman walks into the bar of the Enlisted Club and slams his hand against the table. Everything stops, and everybody at the bar looks at him as he lifts his hand to reveal the surprise — he just issued a challenge, a military coin challenge.

That slamming of the coin is a tradition that has been a part of the military dating back to the Army Air Corps, the precursor of the U.S. Air Force.

“Challenge coins are Air Force history, as the first challenge coins are from the pilots of World War I,” said Ralph Jackson, 49th Wing historian. “Per legend, the first coin was with a U.S. pilot who made it back through the lines after being shot down.”

As the years have gone by since World War II and the change of the Army Corps to the U.S. Air Force, the use of challenge coins has become more popular and customary. With base commanders, chiefs, and first sergeants having coins that they give out for outstanding service and exceptional behavior, the challenge coin has become a part of Air Force heritage. As of 2001, that heritage which began more than 70 years ago has a significant meaning to those Airmen who complete Basic Military Training. The Airman’s coin is awarded to Air Force BMT graduates during a special coining ceremony, introducing an entire training class to the tradition of challenge coins.

“When receiving the Airman’s coin, I was honored to have joined and be part of the U.S. Air Force,” said Senior Airman Jovany Cerezo, 49th Communications Squadron, Wing Client Support Administrator. “I was proud to say that I am an active-duty military personnel serving my country and honoring those who served before me.”

Challenge coins have various purposes throughout the Air Force and various meanings to its Airmen. Some view it as a memento of significant value and others see it as just a collectible and everything in between.

“I think the challenge coin is a good thing in the Air Force, it kind of brings a family vibe to each individual,” said Senior Airman Zachery Shook, 49th Wing Staff Agencies unit deployment manager. “They are also helpful for keeping you alert when you’re out with your buddies, that way you’re not constantly buying a round of drinks!”

Though Airmen everywhere debate their origin, or whether we need them to function, one thing that is undeniable is they are an Air Force tradition that has both historic background and a high level of importance to those who earn them. The 49th Wing at Holloman AFB held a coin design contest, open to anyone who wished to submit a design, to celebrate another historical landmark in Air Force history: the 70th anniversary of the base, which opened in 1942 as Alamogordo Army Airfield. The purpose of this challenge coin is to embody the vast history and important contributions Holloman AFB has made to the Air Force.

“I recognize the coin as a symbolic gesture for commanders and other military leaders to give recognition to service members for a particular accomplishment,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Patrie, 49th Wing command chief. “The coin serves as a potent symbol of pride for organization and military appreciation.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

Thunderbolt bounces back after belly landingThunderbolt bounces back after belly landing

On the evening of Sept. 30, an A-10 stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was coming back to base for a routine landing after completing a standard sortie. Just when everything seemed to be going as planned, disaster struck...
 
 
Richardson_pict

Down and out at Dyess: Air Force Assistance Fund to the rescue

It was scary, leaving home and joining an organization such as the United States Air Force. The people, job, and location were all brand new. When I joined the military, I came from a less than honorable home life.  I come fro...
 
 

SrA and below EPR static closeout date to be March 31

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Enlisted evaluation and promotion changes, announced in July, continue with establishment of a March 31 enlisted performance report static closeout date (SCOD) for Regular Air Force (RegAF) senior airmen and below, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Dec. 5. Additionally, change of reporting official evaluations (CRO) have been...
 

 

Keep holiday sweet tooth in check

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Assorted sweets are a big attraction on display in stores and are advertised in television commercials. Despite the effort to escape purchasing them and knowing they’re not healthy, people still tend to crave, buy and gobble them up. On top of the negative impact these treats have on health...
 
 

Master sergeant evaluation board, SNCO promotion changes coming

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force continues the phased implementation of its Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) changes with the convening of a master sergeant evaluation board scheduled for May 2015. Evaluation and promotion system changes, scheduled for implementation over the next 16 months for active-duty Airmen, are focused on ensuring job perfor...
 
 

Davis-Monthan EOD detonates WW-II era mortar at Fort Huachuca

An explosive ordnance disposal team from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, safely detonated a World War II-era 81mm mortar on Tuesday at 10:43 a.m. in Area H, Slaughterhouse Wash, at the end of the Libby Army Airfield runway on Fort Huachuca. A rider on horseback reported a sighting of the unexploded ordnance to fort personnel...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin