POW•MIA Challenge Coin
A Symbol of Military Pride and Excellence
Join in a long-standing military tradition with this moving challenge coin tribute to our POW and MIA servicemen and women. Both sides of the coin picture the POW•MIA flag overlaid with a dog tag. The POW/MIA flag was created by the National League of Families “as the symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.” It was designed by Newt Heisley, who modeled the man on the emblem after his son – a US Marine about to be deployed to Vietnam. The POW/MIA emblem is a lasting reminder of the sacrifices made by some of America’s bravest heroes. This meaningful challenge coin measures 44.45mm (1.75") and is great for display.
A Custom That Began Over 100 Years Ago
During World War I, a wealthy American lieutenant had bronze medals created for each man in his flying squadron. When one pilot’s plane crashed and the Germans captured him, they took all his identification except the squad medal, carried in a pouch around his neck. The pilot finally escaped and made it to a friendly French outpost, but had no way to prove he wasn’t an impostor. The French were going to execute him until he showed his medallion. Thankfully, one of the French soldiers recognized it, and the pilot’s identity was confirmed soon after. The French gave him a bottle of wine as an apology for their mistake.
After that, every man in the pilot’s squadron carried his medal at all times. This was enforced by periodically issuing a challenge. When one man issued a challenge to another, he’d have to produce his medal immediately or else buy a drink for the challenger – giving the medallion the nickname “challenge coin.” The custom spread throughout the military and became a long-held tradition.
Today, Challenge Coins are awarded for major accomplishments and as signs of membership in a military group. They are usually presented by way of a handshake. The coins have become a long-standing military tradition. Now you can join in this tradition with your own impressive challenge coin.