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civilian and challenge coins

civilian challenge coin

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#1 oud25

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 01:21 PM

Hello everyone, I am not in the military or anything so i only see this topic as a civilian. ITS sells challenge coins and I have wanted one for a while but would it be a insult to someone if there is a challenge and I pull it out since I was not in the Military? I want one to carry and use but the last thing I want to do is insult someone who server our country. All input is useful.

#2 LongHaul

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 01:52 PM

As a military member I would not be offended by civilian use of a challenge coin, especially if you're using a coin to show affiliation with a non-military organization. Probably the only way it would be offensive would be if someone used a coin to claim experience or affiliations that they did not have (e.g. claiming to be a military member or veteran.) Other than that I don't see any problem with it.
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#3 Oregon Jim

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 06:36 PM

I've got some coins, but I thought the point of a challenge was they had to have the same coin and the one who didn't got to buy the beer?

Coin challenges were unheard of when I was in the Suck, do they really do it in the .mil these days or is it a "Seal Team 6" movie thing? LOL

EDIT: We didn't call it the "suck" either back then, so I should have said Corps. :)

Edited by Average Joe, 16 June 2013 - 06:37 PM.


#4 LongHaul

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:51 PM

I've been in the military (USAF) for a bit over 15 years. We've used challenge coins for most of that time. Usage seems to vary by unit with more frequent challenges in flying squadrons.

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#5 Oregon Jim

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 10:35 PM

LongHaul, good to know. I didn't date myself, I was in 84'-88' so it's been a while. I did get a really cool NRA LEO 3Gun coin from a match last month, wish I could find something to do with it besides add more weight to my EDC pockets. :)
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#6 Lao

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:45 AM

Yea, I don't have an issue with it at all, and I was a 20 year Air Force guy....

Hey LongHaul, do you fly??
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#7 mangeface

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 05:01 PM

I've got some coins, but I thought the point of a challenge was they had to have the same coin and the one who didn't got to buy the beer?

Coin challenges were unheard of when I was in the Suck, do they really do it in the .mil these days or is it a "Seal Team 6" movie thing? LOL

EDIT: We didn't call it the "suck" either back then, so I should have said Corps. :)


We got coins and could buy them while I was in, but if you presented on to another Marine in anticipation of yours being 'higher', you're most likely to get laughed at...at a minimum (I saw a guy get punched, called a boot then tossed out of a bar).

As for how I heard the challenge coin system worked, your coin had to be of a higher status than the other persons, i.e. you pull out a 2nd Marine Division Commanding General coin and he pulls a Commandant of the Marine Corps coin, you owe him a beer.

Edited by mangeface, 17 June 2013 - 09:23 PM.

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#8 Davis

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:39 PM

Coins are not exclusive to the Mil. Many agencies (police, sheriff, fire, rescue, etc.) both public and private do coins.
It is common place in such agencies that when a member does something exemplary or goes above and beyond the call that the chief or top brass will present that person with a coin. It can often be a status symbol.
All that said, in my humble opinion, a coin should be earned either by merit or by being a member of a particular organization. So if you are a member of ITS then I see nothing wrong with you having one of the ITS coins as it represents an organization that you belong to and support.
I do however strongly advocate against people going out and purchasing coins that they have no rights to, such as somebody showing off a Mil. branch coin but were never in that or any other branch of the Mil.
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#9 LongHaul

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:49 PM

I agree with davis.agd about being a member of an organization before using their coin. The way challenges work where I'm from (in the Air Force anyway) is the challenger presents his coin (usually for the squadron or unit he's assigned to) then all others must quickly present the appropriate coin for their current squadron (how quickly depends on who's making the rules, usually one step and one arms length is the limit for distance/time). Anyone found not having their coin buys a round. If everyone has their coin the challenger buys the round. I think a version of the rules may have been posted a while back on the main ITS page. I'll try to post a link if I come across it.

(Lao, I fly the C-17. Weren't you on a C-130 variant?)

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#10 LongHaul

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:52 PM

Also, depending on how strictly your unit takes coin checks the rules may even apply during showers or PT. Some even claim saying the word "coin" in the bar constitutes a challenge...

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#11 Lao

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 05:31 AM

I was my friend, MC-130H!! My best friend went to C-17's via the Greenville assignment following on to Charleston, very impressive airframe. :)
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#12 Ben There

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:59 PM

I fully agree that coins are acceptable in CIVCOM, as long as it's not being used to back up your "cover story". My coins provide a tangible link to my past, not something to use today. I use a custom coin of my own. It is given as a token of respect, thanks, and gratitude whether it be at a regroup or a shooting match.
Nothing lower than using someone else's story for your personal glory. I've run across so many wanna be's it makes me sick. You want to tell me your war stories since you got a coin in your pocket? Show me your scars, sleeves, or sit close enough that I can see the truth in your eyes. Tell me what you dream at night. Tell me what the voices say in the quiet moments before dawn. Lie to me and your life will be .......
The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants.

#13 phoenixchallengecoins

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 01:28 PM

Besides using coins for challenging, they are also used as rewards or awards for outstanding service or performance of duty. As such they are used as a tool to build morale. In the context as they are used by the modern U.S. military, the tradition probably began among special forces units during the Vietnam War. The tradition spread through the Airborne community, and by the early 1980s also into the 75th Ranger Regiment. As officers were reassigned as their careers progressed, they carried with them the tradition of awarding a unit coin for acts that were worthy of recognition, but yet lacked enough merit to submit the soldiers act for an official medal. Challenge coins were not very common until the First Persian Gulf War of 1990–1991, and have steadily grown in popularity since. 



#14 B3dlam

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 02:22 PM

I seriously looked at having my own e-5 coins made because I figured it would be hilarious to coin an admiral when he flys with me. It was gonna say something goofy like "cg flight mechanic that others may swim" i just decided it wasn't a joke worth the $300+

On to the Origional question I say to for it as long as the coin isn't claiming you are something you aren't.

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#15 DeathwatchDoc

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 02:27 PM

Topic locked. Please don't resurrect old discussions. 


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