Navy Freezes Funding for Challenge Coins

Navy Freezes Funding for Challenge Coins

Navy budgetary belt-tightening may have reached a new – if temporary – low. Officials have frozen the purchase of commanders’ coins — also known as “challenge coins” — using Defense Department dollars.

In a May 13 message to the fleet, the Navy said commanders may no longer use appropriated funds to buy the coins or other unofficial gifts and morale boosters. The brass coins, emblazoned with a unit designation and handed out by commanders for a job well done, or simply because, have routinely been ordered at every command level – on up to the President – for years. The tradition of the coins started

The coins get their name from a tradition within the military in which one servicemember or veteran presents another with a unit coin. If the other individual can’t produce their own unit coin, that person owes the other a favor, which usually means they’re buying the next round. The tradition of the coins have stretched well beyond the military in recent years, which some say has degraded the original meaning of the coins.

But the Navy has deemed them not mission essential, and so using appropriated funds to buy them, or any other items for presentation, “such as plaques, ball caps, etc., is suspended until further notice.”

Commanders are still free to hand out whatever coins, plaques, caps and whatnot they previously purchased with appropriated funds in accordance with existing policy, according to the message. They may also use so-called “representation funds” to buy the items if they are to be part of an official event honoring select high-ranking Defense Department officials, prominent citizens or foreign dignitaries. Or, if those select individuals are taking part in the event.

But for the time being, commanders who want to present such items to their own personnel as an award will have to dig into their own pockets for the cash, just as existing regulations say they are supposed to do when simply giving out the coins as gifts, for unit morale or for routine job performance.

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I wonder if these coins will become rare collectors items in the future.

Anyway, who cares what gets cut? The important thing to remember is that our defense dollars are going right where they need to go: the F-35 program. Right, guys?

Just wait until some entrepreneur sets up a currency exchange, valuating these coins, and converting them into currency, along with “BitCoin”, which just launched a physical coin, and has cash-to-BitCoin ATM’s in development…Looks like we’re making our OWN money, cutting out the U.S.Mint middleman…
…maybe DoD should mint a bunch of F-35 coins, and sell them on late night TV infomercials like from Franklin Mint, or whatever…???…proceeds to train the several new F-35 pilots we’ll need for the few F-35 units we’ll be able to afford…

Who needs morale when you’ve got defense contractors doing such a bang up job designing the Navy’s new ships?

Challenge coins? Who needs ‘em when they want to give a joystick jock a medal that ranks higher than a purple heart? Now that’s DOD priorities for you.. NOT!

Where did you find this information? About gov’t freezing funding for coins?

this denigrates a honorable “cultural” custom of the Army, challenge coins are usually collected & displayed with honor & a sense of accomplishment.…… but I guess xgender operations will be funded in their place..

Once a challenge coin is bought and sold, it loses all metaphysical value. Then it’s just money.

I don’t think your army.…… wavy gravy?

This is a great example of the utter incompetence of leadership, both Congressional and military.

the history being “coined” started with the OSS in WWII in Europe, an agent would let’s say sir do you have change for a franc?.…. if the answer was yes, a certain countries & demon. coin would be offered as change, then a challenge password exchange in a conversation & the operative(s)’ i.d. would be verifiied. The Army then picked up on unit coins, with rank, which gave start to the challenge for the highest “ranking” holder drinkin’ 4 free in the enl, nco, o-club scearnio. In WWI indiv’s would fashion their own, being of the monied class. For ground pounders it started & took hold during WW II & continues 2 2day!


it 1st appeared in the army times a few weeks ago, re: a officer who went just freakin’ nuts, marryin’ another women, mis use of funds etc. His signature authorities were audited, & boo koo $$$ was spent on these coins! Not a good reflection on Army values.


wow blight, u dis my branch, my rank, (a defacto acusation of stolen valor) & now your gettin ‘Metaphysical” well thats.…beyond my ASVAB scores, education level..both mil & civ. I’m in awe!

I’ve always thought the Navy blew a lot of money on these coins. The military as a whole really.Every unit, base, school, and you name it, they had their own coins made. I know a guy who had CASES full of them from every place he had been and he wasn’t even in for 20 years at that point. He says he didn’t pay for any of them.

On something else the Navy cut back… Airshows. They would probably be a lot more affordable if the local COs didn’t serve numerous beers on tap and various grilled food items to the families of “vips” and retired officers for free and for the entire event. They act as if they are a private company exec using their own hard earned money.

were def. not buddies in any sense.….. but ya gotta let the F-35 thing go, I’m bettin your a Hornet driver, prob. a front seater, I respect that, really do, I’m a PE, worked 4 GD on 688 & 726 NNPP’s come on up to “The point” on Sat. & I’ll show “A fast mover” how the airborne & ground pounders think. I didn’t care 4 the civiy’s thing at USNWC.…. felt really weird when I visited a Army Officer colleague there.


I stand by my comment. Things that people earn shouldn’t be viewed solely as a monetary item like a BitCoin. Bradford’s correct in that an economic sense, things are worth what we are willing to exchange for them. Then again, I’m not comfortable with the idea of people selling medals either for essentially the same reasons. Of course, people who earned them can do with them what they darn well please (except for the MoH, which can get you into all sorts of trouble).

I can’t speak 4 the USN, but Army dog faces treat them differently

I always thought challenge coins were a waste of money. Kind of like a kid getting a star on their homework.

The unit commands can issue CoAs, and in the Army if an O-5 or better signs it it means a promotion point. I am sure that commanders will dig in their pockets and buy them anyway(I know battery commanders who did). As for collectibility, I am sure they will for the small number who collect them(I have one from GEN James Jones, SACEUR)

I remember the German 1 pfinning being used to challenge at the bar.

I don’t read the post the same way, but then thats what they call subjective interpretation. Bitcoins are used to buy items on “the silk road” i.e. drugs, weapons etc, anywhere that a person doesn’t what the xaction tracted! Being coined in the Army..well … must be different in the Navy. I ain’t tryin to be offensive, respect many of ur post’s, maj0d, I got a problem with him. Actually, that post about roman engineers u made gave me a belly laugh, don’t have many of them often. I was just lettin maj0d known that an Div maneuv. cmdr, will always have an Engineer real close to him. They give him a different perspective of the battlefield, & eng forces are a definite force xplier. I was just quoting the accomplsihments of the USACE, which as a PE is near & dear to me. & I didn’t even mention the post 9/11 ones around NYC & DC, which I won’t…Essayons!

Bitcoins are still a little new, and before the real mainstream buzz they weren’t worth much. The recent hypervaluation of the Bitcoin is interesting.

Re the bitcoin, they are mined by throwing a computer (usually the GPU) at a math problem, and solving solutions extracts a hash that corresponds to a bitcoin. In some respects, it’s like mining a precious metal from the ground, and you can’t magically print more bitcoins (grumblegrumbleUSgovernment). However, it’s still a fiat currency, even if you had a physical bitcoin in your hand.

That said, I can’t imagine Shahids getting paid in Bitcoin, ’cause you can’t buy guns from Abdul with bitcoin or bribe Farouk in bitcoins. It’s trouble enough finding people in the US who take bitcoins as payment.

For giggles:

Looting old Saddam era Iraqi currency would make great challenge coins.

Then again, I think the issue is really the US government clamping down on souvenir-taking from overseas adversaries. People have to have something, and a challenge coin is a substitute.

Maybe we can pay Afghans to mint us some Afghanistan-related challenge coins?

Sorry, blight, but it’s not mutually exclusive…Like any money, “value” — metaphysical or not, is in the eyes and mind of the buyer and seller…money also has metaphysical value…and intrinsic value…put a challenge coin on a necklace, and you’ve made even more valuable jewelry, for example…or make a challenge coin belt buckle…&pls. stop scaring KrazyCol…*grin*…

I won’t post a url, but check out “Butterfly Labs”(“bfl”)…they’re buiding & selling “bitcoin miners” — digital devices — for as much as $10’s of thousands…technology is changing & evolving faster than humans…it COULD get scary…KrazyCol is 100% correct about crime, and the “silk road”…also, look into the connection between the recent Cyprus bank meltdown, & Bitcoin…I’m only educatin’, not saying for, or against…it is what it is BECOMING QUICKLY…I just don’t wanna see U.S. get left in the toxic dust.…

Thank GOD!!! The coin used to mean something as a token of unit pride and accomplishment. Now you get one if you ask for one, People get one when they show up!! I’ve only gotten a couple that really ment something. I got one in Iraq from a commander who what horrible and I took it and put it back in the box with the others!! I was given one by a one star for the work of soldiers, I gave it to the one who I thought did the most work and told him the General gave it to me to give to him!! Commanders spent more money on coins than on soldiers!! Even senior NCOs have them like they are a business card!! Nonsense!!

Ideally one would get a nice big desktop and SLI some OpenCL GPU’s together for mining if you wanted to do-it-yourself with something that wasn’t specialised (like the ASIC). SLI GTX Titans would be hilarious. *However*, you’d have to calculate how long it would take for you to break even, let alone turn a profit.

And like the 1849 gold rush, the only people who are guaranteed to win are those selling shovels and pans to the gold miners (in this case, bitcoin miners).

Bitcoins are tracked in the bitcoin currency exchanges. They may be offshore, but we all know that doesn’t mean squat against good cyberwarfare. And considering exchanges have been attacked before, I kind of doubt that a bitcoin /can’t/ be tracked, and moreso if you are exchanging bitcoins for currency. Of course, nobody has told the DHS yet about BitCoins, so they’re still checking the banks for money transfers above ten thousand dollars.

Of course, the other issue is that when the original mining algorithm gives out, they’ll change it; potentially rendering a bunch of ASICs moot.

I’ll have to install Tor and go check out Silk Road.

Won’t be long before the government outlaws possession of Tor…hah!

I agree, John. If commander’s want to hand them out, they should buy ‘em themselves. Then we’ll see how many they give out.

Most commanders DO buy the majority of the coins they give out…either that or the unit “booster club” or
“snack bar” funds them. The rules are pretty strict on when you can give away “taxpayer” funded coins. At least those are the rules…not saying everybody always follows them. Then again…I can’t imagine we are talking about very much money.….……

your missing an important aspect. Bitcoins have been around since 2008, If u think u can by a bitcoin online, & not be monitored well I wouldn’t suggest it. Its orgin was the “silkroad currency” where if you wanedt to buy contraband (Drugs, weapons etc.), that u say you can’t pay for, well u can. I would only access it through a proxy server, using lets say the opsys XXXXXXX. Once your in the proxy network u need like nat” level cyber assets required to track xactions, sometimes! They way u pay ur vendor is by buying a greendot or prepaid debit card in cash, not in a store with video surveil., give your vendor the acess code & they withdraw the $$ or currency of choice. The silkroad even rates the sellers, so you can lessen ur ripoff chances. The move to make them a more legit form of exchange is dicey at best, considering the ongoing DHS & Treas.move trying to penetrate the sys & entire process. Just a certain view point from a guy That has been said” he doesn’t know sheet”! ha its the worldwide underground internet currency, with a few entrpen. trying to cash in & legit them, not a bad idea, but its the illegal xactions that muddy the waters. I wouldn’t be surprised if our covert opns aren’t envolved.

Its THOR.…& wouldn’t suggest that, & I’m telling u that as a brother in arms. Loading a comp oper. sys that can acess the world wide proxy servers puts you at high risk. If you really want to do it, go on utbe & “Fatman” will walk u through the set-up, but beware.…your computer may very well be “Tagged” by well lets say some agencies that specialize in that & maybe malware penetrated by bad guys!. What really scares me are the ‘Black holes” that have been created. Lets say u place an order to buystock xyz, it doesn’t go from your online broker to the exchanges, it goes through one of 20 something black holes. They are huge servers that would ecarry your xaction to its intended receip. The f@ceb00k “shorting scandel was a elint take over of one or more of those black holes that delayed the xactions…u tell me.….foreign gov’t hack, elint clich, criminal or annomous attack.…ha! we are bent over & well greased in that area of our economy! or was it an inside job? u tell me blight, I’m just a PE phoney Colonel with a few phoney tours under my belt. & I will not say the worst of it here. Gotta get my phoney Army “Blues” with those special engineer buttons ready for Saturdays Graduation. ahhh yes.….that statue of Gen. MacArthur (A engineer officer!) HA!!!! & “The Long Grey Line”, I wonder why MajrOr will meet me there& sit in the phoney Colonel vip section? hahhaahhah! 20+ years & only a major? somezhin’ happened no so good i tink

wwhoa, I’ll trade ya “Stormin Normans” 4 it, LOL only kiddin’ ain’t given that one up!

true, but only at acertain level of the Military’s Command structure imho

If you buy a lot & have them engraved with your name and branch motto it can be costly… speakin’ from xperience.

The Joint Chiefs actually put out guidance last month that funds for challenge coins was at an end until the budgetary issues are resolved. Given the action of Congress, I don’t expect things to be resolved any time soon. I’ve noticed that difference branches of service have different views on challenge coins with the Navy and USMC having the least usage.

The Commander’s Challenge

Right…it can easily cost a commander several hundred dollars. A smart commander has two boxes of coins; one box bought with appropriated funds, and one box bought with his/her money. The amount of appropriated funds the DoD will save from this is tiny, but I guess it is the psychology that matters (every dollar counts…).

Big deal. If you want a challenge coin then pay for it yourself. I’ve never known anyone who used these as they were originally intended (i.e. to win a round). In fact the only people I ever see handing these out are the guys with stars on their shoulders and they throw them around with abandon. Admiral/General, if you think someone did a good job on something then tell them so or write them a letter of appreciation. If you want them to have a coin then buy yourself a stock of them with your own money and then handing them out as thank you’s will actually have some meaning.

Real interested in how representation funds are budgeted. Are these taxes on appropriated dollars? Why are appropriated dollars still being used to support retirement events for Flag Officers?

Not really, if Congress hadn’t tied the hands of the military leaders they might have found better ways to cut money. As it is we can’t really tell because Congress has gone about DoD cuts in the dumbest way possible.

Brad.….good post.…..I learned a long time ago to laugh at your self, if u don’t you turn your m1911 on yourself after you been staring at a wall for 13 hours! I freak real easy.….…why i got the disease! & because I know the voice cellular & satphone monitoring capabilities of certain companies or u know who!. B@nk of @meica was sucessfully hacked about a month & 1/2 ago.… didn’t hear that on NB.C news didya? How much e-money was stolen? The IRS disbursed 1.6 BILLION $ in checks & to debit cards in fraudulent tax returns, because one of their processing centers was penetrated! I’m an elint geek, I bulit a antennae array in my backyard using the slats from old metal venetion blinds, tack welded 2 gether… my neighbor filled a zoning complaint againts me, had 2 take it down. It would blow ur mind what I intercepted, once I hooked up a Sig chan Amp to it, then a mc sig analizer and poof.…..ur pickin up ur neighboors xmissions from his wireless laptop to his wifi printer haha! otc “anti hacker, spyware” ha a little fatty 15 y/o geek with no friends and a 3 digit iq can get through that firewall! I modified a radar detector once, sat outside a bank to pick up their x band motion detector freq.…. than came back later that night and was able to ping it, set it off, & along came johnny L.…ha! just keep doing your banking & taxes online & hope ur not hacked„„,send in your taxes via prog. x & get the “your tax return has already been recieved” message.….then the nightmare begins.….. but your right I scare easy, real easy because I know the threat AO I’m in. And it ain’t gettin better.… but if your military, your a brother in arms, & I would stand shoulder 2 shoulder with ya, or cover your 6 KC OUT!

I only gave mine out judisously, but ur right, the Off Corps 2 day just hand’em out like a ticket 2 a amusement park ride.…sad 2 see such a tradition slip to that. KC OUT

Right, speaking of morale killers… Everyone find an orifice. Let’s use our military for social experiments. What could possibly go wrong?

…i bet they don’t make *metal* venetian blinds anymore…only plastic…stop squealin’ tradecraft, KrazyCol…
But seriously, I’m studying all this of which you speak…I got a nice “Lenco Bearcat” medallion from the manufacturer rep, at the local City council meeting, when I spoke in *FAVOR* of the local Po-Po getting one…I use it to set off metal detectors…(…lol…)…After the “Boston Marathon False-flag Drill & Lockdown Exercise, all of NH’s 5 BearCats were deployed to Boston, except one…guess which little piggy stayed *HOME*…???…Sure, TPTB *could* have a *nasty* SHTF moment in store for us all…*BUT*, I’m betting a
GAME CHANGER has occurred…I’d rather be immune to negativity & pessimism, and an infectious carrier of optimism, and positivity…As for the tempest-in-a-teapot of Challenge Coins, they will still make good memory momentos for the kids, grand-kids, great-grand-kids, great-great-grand kids, great-great-great-gran kids…

I got the metal ones at garage sales.…..for like a buck or two apiece.

especially if your name & unit/branch motto is engraved on them, & they are of high qual. I always bought my own, I gave one to a usmc grunt (Vietnam era) at the dmv 2 day, he was with my brothers unit!

brad: check out the sc@nner m@ster brand. The prob with bearcat’s are they are not capable of monit. “P-25″ or “Modulated digital systems…unless they jus’ came out with new ones. Their great for fire serv. & some can “Grab” general aviation freq“s. I Have one for the FS & Amul. service. Real good product. as far as coins.….I have 2 disply racks of them, u might be surprized the one’s i got. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat! I took my meds, so i’m not scared anymore.… & I will stop squealin…*lol*

Not really. The Pentagon got its money increases over the last couple of decades at 1 to 3 percent a year up across all programs, and now they complain because they getting an 8 percent down across those same programs. They basically went up 100 percent in their base budget (not including war costs) since 2000, and are complaining about 8 percent down. They need to stop whining and make some tough calls about the cutting out the questionable and expensive toys they’ve been playing with — like LCS. Just knock of this trimaran cr*p off and build a damn combat frigate. I’m sure our enemies aren’t wasting their time and money.

Hell, even the Boy Scouts have to earn their merit badges.

Brand: “Lenco”…model: B.E.A.R.C.A.T. “Ballistic Enhanced, Armored Response Civilian Attack Truck”, or sumthin like dat… I fergot there’s a “Bearcat” scanner.…I’m talking trucks, you’re talking radios!…talk about Miss Communication!…

I got tired of buying drinks when traveling with the military guys, so I started buying my own coins from the units I’d visit. Then my kids saw them and now I’ve only got 2 that are well hidden. I had no idea that was the history. They never tell me nothin’ except when it’s time to buy drinks, of course.

Engineers have a coin tradition too. Ours was started by Kelly Johnson. In his own words he says:

One of my challenges to employees is a standing twenty-five cent bet against anyone who wants to differ with me on anything. I keep a supply of quarters on hand. It’s not the quarter, of course, but the distinction of winning it – to be able to beat the boss. It’s another incentive. And I’ve lost a few quarters, too.

I’d have given anything to work with the great man. You can bet damn few if any of those quarters ever found their way back into circulation. It’s not the coin, it’s what it stand for. A little bit of copper and zinc can be just that, or it can be a man’s most prized possession in life. People have forgotten that.

congress hasn’t changed the sign. auth. of officers of a certain rank 4 distribution or purchases? or am I missin’ somthning?

hey…I’m the one whose Krazy.…remember??? & WTF does the state of new hamster need those for??? when those hillbilly’s up north, with bad teeth, who all look the same & have eau on the end of their names invade south?

Please, that’s “Nude Hampsters”, OK?…&well, they’re built on a standard Ford F-350/550 chassis, in a small factory near Pittsfield, Mass…Local company, domestic jobs…$250K/each in FedGov HomeSec *funny*money*…The furor over accepting it drew all the local surrender monkeys, and Libtards, and anti-war wackos out of the woodwork, so we can ID ‘em easier next time…it’s a training tool, and morale booster, it *LOOKS*COOL*, and, we *coulda’* got the model w/the battering ram, & tear gas injector, but we got the “Public Safety” version, instead…I’m hoping in 10 years. we’ll look back, and see we didn’t EVER*NEED it, but, it’s a YANKEE thing — “better to have it & not need it, than to need it & not have it”…(…only the Frenchies have eau, or eaux, but they’ve all been replaced by espanolas…from “mon Dieu”, to “vaya con Dios”.…)…*INVADE*SOUTH*…wtf?…we’re trying to keep the rebels *OUT*…it’s a losing battle, though…we WASP’s are a dying breed…but at least we still collect Challenge Coins…&yeah,U da 1 whose Krazy, 2, m’k?.…

Perhaps it speaks to our need for Shiny that the quarter must be fancy.

Coins are a huge waste of our taxes! I was responsible for this and other similar money wasting programs for years… more often than not coins were misappropriated and not adequately controlled. Every admiral I worked for had literally hundreds (if not thousands) they proudly displayed. Their staff personnel were just as bad and the coins would end up being used for bartering. Any country that has to borrow money from China should stop the fraud, waste and abuse permanently!

I did my 20 years and have recently retired. I have over the years been lucky to receive coins from every command I served with and even some that i supported. I was NAVY but worked in a NATO hospital in Afghanistan and I had a ARMY general bring me a coin for doing my part in saving one of his men. This coin have very special meaning to me. as well as many of mine. I think the real value for me is the memories these coins bring back to me. I do not display them but I have told the stories to my children and hopefully to there children some day. God bless the everyone serving and who has served our country.

You know, I’d buy that if I didn’t work for a defense contractor that for the last 20 years you’ve been paying more to screw you than you pay them to design and build a weapon on-time and on-budget. Do you really think you’ll get a better Navy if you take away morale incentives while you pay their contractors more to drag out the design of crappy ships that require multiple redesigns just to keep them afloat? Maybe you are missing the forest for that one small pine needle you stay focused on.

These aren’t morale incentives and very rarely are given to the junior folks. This has nothing to do with contract companies and contractors who do steal much more than they are worth. I always hear about these small things having no impact and not amount to more than a drop in a barrel. This just tells me there are MANY more drops to dry up.


I was in the AF and during the Vietnam war we would call them Blue Chips (it was a blue gambling type
of chip. When you owed someone a big favor you gve them a blue chip. If they ever presented that chip to
you and asked a big favor you were morally obligated to grant the favor as long as it didn’t include committing
a crime or something drastically illegal. (Retired E-9 — , 7th AF,Tan Son Nhut Vietnam 1968–69.

Hell, you’re doing the defense contractors a favor. Do you work for them? I’m guessing your are a member of their useful unpaid. Do you think they want money that could be going into their pockets “wasted” on improving the morale of sailors? F no! They want all that money. They’re for eliminating all sailors. Without sailors no one would care that their boats don’t float. You’re not stopping anything. All you’re doing is making it possible for the biggest tax leaches to have a little more blood to suck at the expense of the people who put their lives on the line for you and your freedom.



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