You Know You’re a Military Brat If: #2


You know what a challenge coin is and might even have one.


The challenge coins go back in history to World War I and have since been given to prove membership when challenged.  They are collected by servicemen and women and are traded among active duty, retired, and civilians within government agencies.   have been give a few challenge coins  as a military wife during my husband’s years of service in the USAF.  I remember my father receiving a custom coin display when he retired after 30+ years as an USAF officer. My sons are facinated by the double sided medallions with the different insignas, mottos, and unit symbols.



How the Challenge Coins work:
The tradition of the coin challenge has grown into popularity as a source of morale within the military community.

A challenge is initiated by:

  • A challenger drawing his or her coin, and slapping or placing the coin on a surface of a table or bar.
  • Rapping the challenge coin on a surface may initiate the challenge.
  • Accidentally dropping a challenge coin

If a challenge is made:

  • Everyone present or challenged must immediately produce the coin for their organization.
  • Anyone failing to do so must buy a round of drinks for all those who produced their challenge coins.
  • If everyone challenged can produce and show their coin, the one who initiated the challenge must then buy a round of drinks for the group.

While this typically would play out within a specific organization where everyone has the same coin, the specifics and rules of a challenge can vary. Some things I have heard about include:

  • Stealing a challenge coin. If this happens, everyone in the group must buy a drink for that person.
  • Pulling Rank. During a coin challenge, everyone in the group must buy a drink for the holder of the highest ranking coin.
  • Strict time limits to respond to a challenge.
  • Challenge coins that have been modified or defaced cannot be used.


Q: Do you know about challenge coins or have you been presented with a challenge coin?

* Photography custom to ACR by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2014 All rights reserved |
  • Susanne V.

    I have never heard of challenge coins, but is seems like a nice concept.
    Though I am curious, how do you get one? And why are they collected/traded if they all have different orginizations and ranks aswell.