Challenge Coins

Just a bit of a thought really.

Do any Squadrons or Wings out there have Challenge Coins? Where do you get them done and how do you work go about funding and distributing them?

I can’t answer most of your questions - but you could do worse than checking out this company: Challenge Coins UK

It’s founder is an ex Air Cadet, who went on to join the AAC. And he is a jolly nice chap to boot.

I have looked at his. Proves for laser numbers of coins are very steep, he’s great if you want a big order, but in the 50-100 range he’s well off the market value.

Can you explain what a challenge coin is please?

Modern day gold star I think

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Large coin, essentially a game.

Born in the US forces (maybe navy) I think as a way of extorting rounds of drinks out of those who forget or lose their coin.

One person “challenges” by getting their coin out, last to produce theirs loses or you challenge a specific person. Different groups might have their own rules.

In the US, ships or individual units will have their own custom coins - kinda similar over here, so there are generic police/fire ones available, regiment coins, etc.

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They are very common in the forces and law enforcement in the States and have come over here in a big way over the last decade in the same types of organisations. They are used generally as a keepsake, so either members of a team will all have one or people who have been at a particular event.

Certainly in the States the expectation is that you will always carry it, so if you end up in the pub with someone they can challenge you by putting their coin on the table, if you don’t have yours it’s your round, but if you do it there round. (Can get very expensive!).

I know several Wings that give them to everyone who attend there big wing camp each year.

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Sounds like Banter… or a mild form of continuous hazing.

Hope it doesnt catch on here.

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We have looked at it as a souvenir type thing for cadets when they leave, a leaving present for those who have had ‘significant’ time with us. The committee would bear the cost if we went ahead with it.

It was on the radar before the lockdown but as with many things has been sidelined.

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Another rule I heard, was that you produced a coin, and depending on its seniority you hVe to buy the drinks.

Could be a units seniority, or a command level coin.

I got one as a gift from some JROTC cadets who joined us on an ATC summer camp.

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Those I know that use them this way are all in on it.

I’m considering something similar.

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Too late

This so sort of what we are looking at.

Sounds like another piece of tat that will end up at the back of a drawer or bottom of a box in the loft. You can sort of see where it would fit into the forces and blue light lot, but anywhere else people would get bored with it pretty quickly.

The coins are a token - what you use them for is up to you…

They are used by commanders as a paperwork free way of commending soldiers for excellent work - so, as an example, Commander Field Army (Lt Gen Ivan Jones, ex-them) visited a unit on a training area, did a tab and a range package with a section in the heavy rain, and did a MATT stand with the section. He got some relatively small thing wrong, and one of the Privates corrected him on it. Because IJ falls solidly into the ‘Good Bloke’ bucket, he took it in good grace.

When he got back to the office he sent a challenge/whatever coin, and a hand written letter of thanks to the Private in question, and thanked the section, Pln, Coy and Bn Comd’s for their hospitality, and for producing young soldiers with the guts to correct a Lt Gen.

Lt Gen Tyrone Urch - Comd Home Command and SJFHQ and OP RESCRIPT - has been dishing them out left right and centre to people who’ve been doing good work supporting the Covid response.

It’s an additional way of thanking/recognising effort - it doesn’t replace the more formal forms of recognition, it’s just a something much more immediate, rather than doing something great, and then getting something 18 months later saying well done.

Of course, it does somewhat depend on the person with these tokens actually being ‘out there’ and knowing what their people are doing…


They are great for things like that and there is a real collectors market for them these days.

I also know of a Squadron who are looking at getting them done for the jubillee so that every member of staff and cadet at the time gets a keepsake.

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I’ve got a nice collection of masonic ones from my travels in the States. Over there loads of lodges give them to a visitor on their first visit as a keepsake.

My contingent recently ordered a shed load from the link above so we can give them to cadets who go above and beyond, as well as gifts to visitors.

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RAFWARMA did one for the 35th walk

Someone just shared this one online, got to say that is snazzy.


There are some really nice ones out there.

I was thinking about getting some for similar reasons as outlined above, but the OC thought wall plaques with our squadron badge would be more appropriate.

Wall Plaques at probably more traditional but they are also far more expensive per unit.

I like them to give to VIP’s but we wouldn’t be able to afford to give every Cadet one for winning best Squadron in the Wing etc.