The system of providing Challenge coins started in military during World War I. Today, many organizations and groups provide these coins to its members. Such a coin is a small medal or coin with an emblem of an organization it represents. Members of the organization produce the coin to assert their identity and membership. Marine challenge coins are held in great esteem.
Many fables are associated with the origin of the challenge-coins. The most popular one is the story associated with an American pilot who braved great odds of war and returned to his group. It is known that the young pilot managed to convince his French enemies his identity showing a challenge coin. After his return the rich pilot distributed challenge-coins to every one in his regiment. This incident happened during First World War.
Marine challenge coins stand for membership, support and patronage of the holder of the coin. Special coins are minted by the commanders to honor members for exceptional work. They are a great moral booster and are considered to be a highly respected and esteemed honor. It improves individual and team spirit. Officers get shifted as their careers advance. During such occasions they bore with them the custom of awarding a unit coin for tasks worthy of recognition, but not have enough value to present the soldiers act for an official medal. Such recognitions and appreciations were accepted with pride.
Marine challenge coins are growing fast in marine departments. Besides boosting the moral of officers, it builds a strong bond between each other. These coins are cherished and valued by the officers even after they leave the service. As a statute, rules regarding challenge-coins forbid defacing the coin. Some disfigure a coin to make it easy to take. If the coin is linked to a belt buckle or key ring, or if a hole is drilled into it in order to connect something, the coin isn’t considered to be a custom coin.
These coins take a deliberate effort to carry at all times. It was expected to be carried in a pouch or case. Some unit laws specially prohibit carrying a challenge coin in a wallet. All these factors make it difficult to carry them with you always. Undoubtedly, these little coins are an effective way of showing appreciation and boosting moral. They symbolize unity, solidarity and team spirit for all who bear them.
In spite of how they are required, the history of the challenge-coin stays a part of military tradition. Marines will display them proudly for years to come.