June 27th, 2005  

Topic: Coining

Who knows the origination of Coining? Where did Unit Coins originate and why where they so special?
July 9th, 2005  
I'm not sure where they originated, but the purpose is basically membership in the group. It allows you to identify yourself as an official member (or in many cases, ex-member) of a particular regiment, unit, etc., whether in uniform or not. It's a unit cohesion, morale thing.

I heard this from a former member of the Cdn Airborne Regt. Every member of the Regt was issued a Regimental coin, which they were supposed to carry on their person at all times. If someone made a challenge (i.e. produced their coin), all other members had to produce their coins, or pay a forfeit -- usually in the form of buying a round for the house. If everyone did indeed produce their coins, the challenger had to buy the round.

One guy used to even take his into the shower with him, just in case, secreted in his, er, tailgun, so to speak.

Thing about it is, a newbie in the 101st Airborne could wander into a pub in Podunk, whip out his coin, and be met by a grizzled old ex-Sergeant-Major who para'ed into France in '44. Instant connection.
July 19th, 2005  
Originally Posted by SigPig
One guy used to even take his into the shower with him, just in case, secreted in his, er, tailgun, so to speak.
September 25th, 2005  
Popular Version

The practice of a senior enlisted member presenting a coin or medallion to an individual actually goes back just about 100 years ago in the British Army. During the War of the Boars, the officers were the only ones authorized to receive medals. Whenever an enlisted person did a good job - typically the officer he was assigned to would receive the award. The Regimental SGM would sneak into the officer's tent; cut the medal from the ribbon. He would then call an all hands to formally "shake the hand" of the exceptional soldier, and would "palm the medal" in the soldier's hand without anyone knowing. The officers of course would sort of know what was going on, and typically condoned the action, as many often felt ill-at ease in accepting the medal in the first place - although there were a few exceptions. Whenever that would happen, other officers would cover for the enlisted men by blaming it on the nearby civilians who often stole goods from the army camps.
As time went on, the coin recognition was eventually extended to the American forces in WWI - by then of course the British Army began recognizing their own enlisted soldiers. The coin turned into a recognition piece, which was specially struck with the unit's crest on it. Senior NCOs presented them as their form of recognition, since they were not authorized to present any medals or awards. In Vietnam, the coin took a different twist of recognition -- it became known as the "challenge coin" in which those who had them, would slam them on the bar counter to challenge anyone in the bar if they had one - it was one of those Combat "machismo" thing. If a person didn't have a coin, they would have to buy the bar a round of drinks.
September 28th, 2005  
I don't understand what you mean. They used to shower together to get coins? LOL That's pretty wierd... Either way, I agree with the "too much information thing".
September 29th, 2005  
rotc boy
no...a guy used to bring his coin into the shower just in case someone called a attention!
just kidding
September 29th, 2005  
haha THANK YOU for explaining that!!! I knew that it sounded too wierd to be true.
October 12th, 2005  
The 1st unit coin was minted by a U.S. SF unit in Vietnam... so the "tradition" hasn't really been around that long. It was started as a recognition of being part of an elite unit, so having one meant something. The concept of using them to get beer didn't start in until much later.
November 8th, 2005  

When the Air Force first started, The commander gave them all a medallion or coin in a pouch to wear around their necks, one of the pilots was shot down and captured. He some how escaped and got to his allies, and they were about to shoot him and he presented his coin, so instead of giving him a bullet they gave him a bottle of wine.

now if you challenge someone, if they dont have theeir coin they owe you a drink, but if they do then you owe them a drink.
November 18th, 2005  
Well, I don't know about all that, but I had a friend who, while he was deployed, had gotten one from the base commander. The base commander had issued to the entire base that if, at any time, for any reason, some one did a coin check on the commander and the commander didn't have a coin, he would later receive a commander's coin. Well my buddy was on guard duty one day when he had to use the bathroom, which happened to be where the shower area was. As he was walking out of the stall, he noticed the commander just getting out of the shower w/ his towel and soap. So as the commander is walking by, he hears the sound of a coin being tapped against wood. he turns around to find my buddy tapping a coin on a near by bench. The commander said damn (or something like that), and later gave my buddy a commander's coin.