To watch a “challenge coin” being passed from one person to
another is to witness the equivalent of “the secret handshake.” Starting and ending as quickly as a bullet, the ritual is performed out in plain sight and almost always in the presence of others.
Most “civilians” remain clueless as to what they witnessed even though it happened right in front of them – seeing nothing more than a stone-faced soldier or Marine at attention quietly facing a commanding officer, politician, or at best a nation’s President, before reaching out firmly to shake hands.
An afterword from one of our readers:
My daughter was in Navy ROTC at Notre Dame and she received the Secretary of Defense coin from Bob Gates when he officiated at the Navy ROTC Graduation last year. Among other things, that coin guarantees she does not have to buy drinks in a navy bar. The person with the highest ranking challenge coin, does not buy drinks. The only higher coin than hers is the Commander in Chief and they are not given out very often. Nice story…..
Tom Kay, General Manager, Outdoor Elegance Patio Center