This US Air Force 446th Airlift Wing LEADERS IN EXCELLENCE "1 APRIL 1943" 2-side challenge coin measures 1.4" in diameter, used condition. Back of coin reads "CITIZEN WARRIORS - ON CALL FOR AMERICA."
The origin of these items dates back to the beginning of World War I (1914) when a wealthy Lieutenant had custom Challenge Coins minted for his unit. One pilot kept his coin in a leather pouch and after escaping from the German had his life spared by the French because he produced one of these Challenge Coins. Instead of ending his life, the French gave the pilot a bottle of wine. From that point on, everyone in the pilot’s division vowed to carry their Military Unit Coins and a tradition was born. Since World War I, the use of Military Unit Coins has spread to any and all groups who want to show team spirit and camaraderie. Besides using these military coins for challenging, they are also used as rewards or awards for outstanding service or performance of duty. As such they are used as a tool to build morale. In the context as they are used by the modern U.S. military, the tradition probably began among special forces units during the Vietnam War. The tradition spread through the Airborne community, and by the early 1980s also into the 75th Ranger Regiment. As officers were reassigned as their careers progressed, they carried with them the tradition of awarding a unit coin for acts that were worthy of recognition, but yet lacked enough merit to submit the soldiers act for an official medal.
A valuable addition to your collection of military memorabilia items.
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