Commander’s Coin Facts: 4 Things You Need to Know

The commander’s coin is a beloved military tradition, one with a history stretching back to Roman times that continues to this day.

The so-called “challenge coins” are minted across the US to celebrate achievement, advancement, and ardor in our armed forces across all branches.

If you’re in the military or know someone who is, you might want to get a challenge coin minted. Before you do, check out these essential facts first.

1. Who Are Commander’s Coins For?

There is no written rule or law that dictates who can have a challenge coin. However, there is a strong tradition of awarding these coins to active and current service members of our armed forces.

You will also see coin award ceremonies taking place across certain emergency service branches, such as the fire police and the fire brigade, but this is less common.

Most of the time, coins as minted for military personnel to commemorate an achievement, such as a promotion or a certain number of service years. They are not the same as medals but are more about tradition and military culture.

2. Where Are They Made?

Some might think that commander coins are made by the US Military. However, this is not the case. Private companies manufacture challenge coins for a fee.

You can find a challenge coin company in pretty much every state, and some will be better than others. For example, some manufacturers will have contracts with military branches or bodies and will have personnel of their own who used to serve.

Some will specialize in specific types of coins for certain military branches. For example, you could click here for USMC challenge coins if you wish to award a coin to a member of the Marine Corps.

3. Their Purpose

A quick coin check will tell you more about the coin’s purpose. Most of the time, they mark a milestone in service or a promotion, but that’s not all.

Historically, challenge coins have been about identification. Certain groups who have served together will each have coins that are specific to that group. They mark them as honored members of that military branch, unit, or corps.

It’s more about awardees being able to identify each other than it is about signifying anything to the outside world.

4. What About Civilians?

This brings us to civilians. Can civilians mint challenge coins for themselves? Should they? The answer is not a uniform “no”. After all, you can make challenge coins for any occasion.

However, it’s important that any civilian challenge coins do not mimic military ones and cannot be used to imply or give a false impression that someone was in the military when they, in fact, never served.

With a little bit of sensitivity, challenge coins can be for anyone.

The Facts You Didn’t Know You Needed

Few people know about the rich legacy of the commander’s coin, despite how widespread this legacy is today.

There are countless people walking the streets today with such coins in their pockets, people who have committed unimaginable acts of bravery and valor and stand in a league of their own because of it.

For niche facts you didn’t know you needed to know, we have got you covered. Make sure to check out our Facts and Quotes hub to expand your knowledge and your mind.

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