OF THE CHALLENGE COIN
During World War I, American volunteers
from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons.
Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who
quit in midterm to join the war. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant
ordered medallions struck in solid bronze carrying the squadron emblem
for every member of his squadron. He himself carried his medallion in a
small leather sack about his neck.
Shortly after acquiring the medallions,
this pilot's aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced
to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German
Patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his
personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his
neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the
front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night he donned civilian
clothes and escaped. However, he was without personal identification.
He succeeded in avoiding German patrols
and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed noman's
land. Eventually, he stumbled into a French outpost. Unfortunately, the
French in this sector of the front had been plagued by saboteurs. They
sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not
recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to
be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. Just in time, he remembered
his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to
his would-be executioners. His French captors recognized the squadron
insignia on the medallion and delayed long enough for him to confirm his
identity. Instead of shooting him, they gave him a bottle of wine.
Back with his squadron, it became a
tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at
all times. This was accomplished through a challenge in the following
manner, a challenger would ask to see the coin, If the challenger could
not produce his coin, he was required to purchase a drink of choice for
the member who had challenged him. If the challenged member produced his
coin, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink.
This tradition continued throughout the war and for many years after
while surviving members of the squadron were still alive.
The challenge is initiated by drawing
your coin, holding it in the air by whatever means possible and state,
scream, shout or otherwise verbally acknowledge that you are initiating
a coin check. Another, but less vocal method is to firmly place it on
the bar, table, Or floor (this should produce an audible noise which can
be easily heard by those being challenged, but try not to leave a
permanent imprint). If you accidentally drop your coin and it makes an
audible sound upon impact, then you have just "accidentally" initiated a
coin check. (This is called paying the price for improper care of your
The response consists of all those
persons being challenged drawing their coin in a like manner (other
organizational coins are invalid). You must produce a coin with YOUR
UNIT'S LOGO on it.
If you are challenged and are unable to
properly respond, you must buy a round of drinks for the challenger and
the group being challenged.
If everyone being challenged responds in
the correct manner, the challenger must buy a round of drinks for all
those people he challenged.
Failure to buy a round is a despicable
crime and will require that you turn-in your Coin to the issuing agency.
Coin checks are permitted, ANY TIME, ANY
There are no exceptions to the rules.
They apply to those clothed or unclothed. At the time of the challenge
you are permitted one step and an arms reach to locate your coin. If you
still cannot reach it -- SORRY ABOUT THAT!
A Coin is a coin. Coins attached on belt
buckles are considered "belt buckles." Coins on key chains are
considered "key chains." Coins placed in a "holder/clasp" and worn
around the neck like a neck