Monday, May 6, 2013

Scout Challenge Coin

My previous life
The challenge coin is a military tradition. Some say it's derived from WWI pilots carrying around a lead slug - one that didn't kill you. The slug eventually evolved into a coin with your unit insignia emblazoned on it. Today, they're handed out as morale boosters, for recognition of achievement, or by visiting dignitaries.  Most military members have a collection of RMOs (Round Metal Objects, there's some kind of fighter pilot superstition about calling things by their rightful names) that reflects their careers.  As a civilian, I still keep my collection on my desk at work.

When bellying up to the bar at the O-club, if you presented your coin to the other officers, i.e., challenged them, they were then obliged to produce their own. If you get caught without your RMO, drinks were on you. I know a few Lt. Colonels who left the club with a much thinner wallet than when they walked in because of this tradition. We learned early to always, ALWAYS carry a RMO, (military, not US Mint!) even to Wal-mart.

Anyway, I've wanted to have some coins, er, RMOs, made up for my boys, but it's kind of cost-prohibitive to do a custom job like that. But behold! I was perusing an online military newspaper and saw this advertised in the lower margin. Still kind of expensive, but I think it's a great way to recognize excellent Scout-like behavior. There's got to be a Scout challenge that doesn't involve a huge bar tab, too.

Prepared. | For Life.™


Brian Reyman said...

Cool description, thanks for sharing. I didn't know all that backstory to challenge coins.

The one you found is cool. While a bit more expensive, this might be a fun one, too:

Tory said...

I love my Scouting challenge coins! I have bought one for each of the eagle scouts in my ward when they earn that rank. I buy them from the Northwest Territorial Mint:

Fishgutts said...

I had coins made for our first High Adventure when our units turned the corner. That website has since died.

This might be a cheaper place to do it even though they won't be metal.

CC said...

Nice article. I wasn't aware of Scouting coins. My father was big into Scouting and I only went into the Cub Scouts. Most of what I track is military challenge coins, their history, and the soldiers whom earn them.