RJO Challenge Coin
Challenge coins have been a part of U.S. Military Heritage for over a century. They are a symbol of Unit Pride and from where a service member comes. The most well-known story traces back to World War I as the U.S. started building up its Army Air Service. One wealthy lieutenant wanted to give each member of his unit a memento, so he ordered several coin-sized bronze medallions to be made.
The lieutenant put his own medallion in a small leather pouch and was soon shot down over Germany. He was captured and the Germans took all of his possessions except what wore around his neck. He eventually escaped and found some civilian clothes and turned himself in to a French outpost who immediately wanted to execute him because of his accent and no uniform.
One of the Frenchmen recognized that insignia, so he was spared.
Instead of being executed, the lieutenant was given a bottle of wine and returned to his unit and the rest is history.
Now, the tradition is to “challenge” with your coin. If you see a worthy ally, you show your unit coin. If your friend produces one, you owe him a drink. If not, he owes you.