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Home » Challenge Coin
Friday » June 23, 2017 

The Challenge Coin

In today's Air Force Basic Training, Airmen who complete "Warrior Week", are presented with a modern version of the Challenge Coin, exactly as shown above. It is a source of great pride in their unit, their flight (team members) and for the accomplishments they have made. This particular coin can not be purchased anywhere in the word -- it can only be earned!

History Of The Challenge Coin

Leisure time in Vietnam was a commodity, but when it came, it was utilized to the maximum; catching up on sleep, writing letters home, letting off steam at the hootch bar. The latter proved to be the most popular, but eventually it too became mundane.

To heighten the excitement and foster unit esprit de corps, Bullet Clubs were formed. These were comprised of small, elite front-line fighters who each carried a personalized bullet from the weapons they carried into combat. The ultimate use of the bullet, usually carried in the hip pocket, was to deny the enemy another prisoner.

When an individual entered the Hootch Bar, he would be challenged by fellow team members to produce his bullet. If he did, the challenger would pay for his bar tab for the rest of the evening. If he failed to produce his bullet, he bought drinks for everyone for the remainder of the night.

Eventually, personalized bullets took on disbelieving proportions. Some "teamies" took to carrying 20-, 40-, or 105mm cannon shells. Clearly, these were not personalized coup de grace munitions but rather manifestations of perceived individual prowess in combat.

At the height of the Bullet Club's heyday, it was not an uncommon sight to see strewn across a bar room table a very respectable representation of the full range of bullets, rockets, cannon and artillery shells used in Southeast Asia.

In order to gain control of the situation - and to avoid accidental discharge of the large, fully functional munitions - bullets were traded for coins, which reflected the unit's symbol and pride. Each coin was personalized by a controlled number and/or the individual's name. The rules remained the same, although today they are greatly expanded. Loss of one's coin was and remains tantamount to eternal disgrace and banishment. To forget to carry one's coin in anticipation of a challenge results in loss of face, of respect.

Emerging from those small, elite groups using bullets are today's coin challengers. Known to strike anywhere at anytime, they insidiously stalk the challenge, waiting for just the right moment to attack. An innocent bystander may never hear the challenge -- only the challenge's despairing reply, "...Ah! I forgot mine!"

Souvenir Shop

Why are you telling you this story, you may be asking? Because one of Blue Eagle 3000's specialty items is the custom made challenge coin. We can take any design and produce a coin in a rainbow of colors, in a myriad of metals, and for a price you won't believe. The custom design is our specialty, but we also have coins ready made for all the training units at Lackland AFB. Your Airman will receive his or her challenge coin for completing their training, but wouldn't they be proud to carry once customized with their emblem of their training unit? We think so.

We sell not only coins, however, but a wide range of unique items with a military theme. Items that would make appropriate gifts for your newly graduated Airman, for a veteran of the military service or service in a foreign conflict, or even for yourself. Visit our on-line souvenir store and pick out a few items. They money you spend today, guarantees the quality of information available on this site today, will remain just as valuable and up to date.

Thank you for your patronage and for visiting our site