The holidays are fast approaching, and it’s time to start thinking about what gifts to give your military friends, family members who serve, and/or fellow unit members. One popular and meaningful option is a military challenge coin.
While these coins are ordinarily presented by senior military personnel to recognize the work of a uniformed service member or civilian, they can also be given as personal mementos to mark something special between the gift giver and the recipient. Challenge coins hold a special place in the heart of many service members, and they are often cherished for years.
The history of military challenge coins is a bit murky, like many things in the military. There really isn’t an identifiable historical moment when military challenge coins first got used. There are tales from World War I and also tales that come from the Vietnam War, but nothing is really concrete. For those who came up in the ranks during the Cold War, military challenge coins weren’t really a thing, at least not like they are now where it seems like every team, at every level, has a coin.
Given the lack of factual information pertaining to the history of military challenge coins, this post won’t focus on challenge coin history. Instead, it will focus on providing guidance on which coins are the best military challenge coins to give as gifts.
Best Military Challenge Coins to Give as Keepsakes
There are many moments when giving someone a keepsake military challenge coin would be appropriate. Maybe they got promoted, finished a training program (Airborne training, for example), earned a degree or achieved something else professionally. Giving them a coin as a gift is no different than buying them something to mark their achievement. It helps mark the occasion and let them know that you’re proud of them for what they’ve done.
You can give a military service specific coin to a recent basic training or officer candidate school graduate to mark the start of their military journey. It doesn’t matter if they end up spending four years or 24 years in, the coin will serve as a reminder of the start of their journey. The coin is a reminder of what they accomplished and that’s because military challenge coins are a tangible representation of an accomplishment.
These can be the best military challenge coins to give as keepsakes if they are service specific, or maybe show the military occupational series, like Military Police, Engineers, or Infantry. Remember, keepsake military challenge coins are just one of the three types of the best military challenge coins to give. What matters is the event that is being marked and what the coin represents.
Best Military Challenge Coins to Give to Build Camaraderie
Military challenge coins are more than just trinkets; they are an essential part of military tradition and they help build morale and camaraderie when used at the team or unit level. If you are in a position as a military supervisor or even an unofficial leader, giving a challenge coin as a holiday gift means that you care and respect the dedication to duty of your fellow service members. If you ask us, these are the best military challenge coins to give because you are recognizing the hard work and dedication of your troops.
Challenge coins promote esprit de corps and a sense of unity among service members. Receiving one or giving one will certainly help the unit’s climate and help build cohesion in the unit or team. A challenge coin is a nice, “atta boy” to let people know you appreciate the work they do when recommending them for a decoration doesn’t fit the scope of recognition.
These days, military challenge coins are funded at higher levels of command, but great leaders at lower levels will often circle wagons and pool their money to ensure they have military challenge coins on hand to recognize those that go above and beyond routinely. These are the best military challenge coins to give.
Best Military Challenge Coins for Commemorating Unit-Related Activities
Branch-specific coins are the best military challenge coins to give out when recognizing something a service member did that brings credit to their branch of service. For example, if a service member has done some volunteer work in the community, but falls short of the criteria to earn the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, then a coin might be the best military challenge coins to give them.
Selecting a military challenge coin that represents the recipient's branch of service (e.g., Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, or Coast Guard) shouldn’t be too hard and there are plenty of choices out there especially at USAMM. Just ensure you buy from a reputable company that uses the service’s insignia properly, with permission, and that the attention to detail in creating the coin is evident. A coin was once sold online by a sketchy retailer that had the Coast Guard motto engraved on an Air Force Pararescue coin. You should know what you’re buying.
One of the best military challenge coins you can buy is a custom coin. You can create a custom challenge coin that can include specific details such as the recipient's name, rank, unit insignia, etc. This adds a personal touch and unforgettable gift for anyone in the military and you can add specific military occupations such as pilots, special forces, or transportation. Choose a coin that best represents the recipient’s role in the military and remember you have two sides on a coin to work with.
The Perfect Time to Shop
Give the gift of pride, honor, and recognition this holiday season with a military challenge coin. These coins are not only beautiful but also deeply meaningful to those who serve. With a variety of options to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect coin to celebrate your loved one's service. But don't wait. The holidays are right around the corner. Shop now and make this year’s gift one they will cherish for a lifetime.
And don’t forget, you can also purchase high-quality coin display cases to accompany the gift of a coin.