A student gave me a military coin - surprised and speechless!

Holy crap. I can’t even process this right now. I work as an academic peer advisor at my university, and one of the things I do is to help students pick their classes, get registered, put in permits, etc.

Last month I worked my butt off for this one student, John, who is an older military guy coming to college for the first time. Every time he came up here or called he always talked to me, and we built up a great rapport. He even brought the whole office Perkins muffins to thank us! Last week on the first day of class he came in and said how excited he was and how much I had helped him and how thankful he was, and it really made my day and made me so proud to do this job. Well he came in this morning before his first class and sat down and asked if I wanted to hear a story. I said sure. (Just paraphrasing his story, if I mess up military details please forgive me!)

He started telling me about this time where his naval base was going to be inspected by some high ranking people and it was a huge deal and he was the one that was supposed to escort the inspectors around. The outcome of the inspection was going to determine some major things for the base, and they were important people so he was really nervous. He showed them around one part of it and when that was done he asked if they were ready to see the rest and they said no, they had seen enough. Two weeks later the student gets a call from his commanding officer, and they told him that he did such an amazing job with the inspectors that the base passed their inspection and the high ranking officials were so impressed with him that they gave him a commanding coin, which I’m told is something you only get for doing something outstanding. He then said, “I told you all that to tell you this. I was scared shitless when I came back to college that I would be lost and everyone would look down on me. But you helped me and made the transition as smooth as can be. The motto on this coin says ‘Find a way or make one’, and you did that. So I want you to have it.”

From what I’m told these coins are a huge deal to those that receive them and they don’t part with them lightly, and I was just floored by this gesture and trying not to tear up in front of him!

The student is off to his classes now, and I’m just sitting here grinning like an idiot. Here’s the coin.

Anyone know more about it? Do you have one? If so, how did you get it?

Challenge Coin

Excellent! Congrats!

I’m sure he felt the same way when he received it. Now that you have it, try and imagine what circumstances would prompt you to give it up.

You did a great job.

And pass on it’s history if you do part with it.

Cool story. Congrats.

Quite an honor you got there.

My crew and I (4 people total) got coins at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin. A training battle that was scheduled to run for 2 days was over 30 minutes after it started because we found a way to effectively double the amount of radio traffic our company (6 teams) could monitor and jam. As a result, we were able to identify all the OpFor radio networks, work out the general battle plan, pinpoint the locations of each of the network commanders and most of their assets (tanks, dudes, artillery, etc.), and forward those targets to our artillery & tank crews. When the OpFor started moving, the artillery went to work wiping them out. While their command network tried to react and give orders for contingency plans, we interefered with their communications so badly they had no clue what units were still alive and most of their orders were going to ash & trash. This really upset some people. For the rest of our tour we were destroyed by Harriers and scouts by midnight before the next battle. Apparently we had earned a decent bounty.

I have about 50 or so. Many are basically souvenirs. Different clubs, organizations and units offer them for sale. They are nice rememberances like my Baghdad Cigar Aficionado Club coin. The ones handed out as attaboys by high ranking officers are much more rare and satifying to get. My most prized one is from my first unit as a young private. Back then they were a lot less fancy. No color. No enamel. But it’s still my favorite.

I think the OP can stand up a little straighter for the rest of the day. :slight_smile:

Oh I am!

Being a peer advisor, I’m not a “real” advisor. I’m a grad student and I work under the “real” advisor. Bascially I’m just her minion. I can do almost anything she can, but there are a handful of things that require her pin to submit. So me being there just helps her out. As soon as I was able to, I ran out of the advising office down to her private office and explained the whole thing. She said she was so proud and that I was her office gem :smiley:

I’m pretty much on cloud 9 billion today!

A nice gesture, for sure. When I sold RVs, my first sale was to a nice couple who bought a new pop-up trailer. Not a huge sale, but it went very well and they were thrilled to have it. Since it was my first sale and was relatively painless, I handed the woman a 1923 silver Peace Dollar (similar to this one, but in better condition) when they came to pick it up. She was completely stunned. Who ever heard of a salesman giving away money?! Felt good.

I have three here on my desk, not bad for a non-military guy! Two are from the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada…I got those for helping those guys out when they were in town to perform the flyover at the Indianapolis 500. The other was for a similar reason, but it’s a big one…it’s from the Commander of Naval Air Forces (meaning, the guy that’s in charge of every aircraft – and aircraft carrier, I think – in the entire U.S. Navy). I escorted him on race day…and he helped me surprise-propose to my wife!

That’s very cool!

Meagan, your efforts meant an awful lot to someone and the coin should mean at least that much to you! Well done!

Well done, Meagan! Bill Clinton had a rack of challenge coins included in the background of his official White House portrait: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bill_Clinton_-_Presidential_portrait.jpg

Not to be the guy poo pooing things here but challenge coins lost their luster in the last decade or so. It used to be you got ONE when you showed up to your unit and had to carry it with you per custom. That changed pretty dramatically after about 2001 or so. They because something you could purchase from you unit to contribute to the morale fund, as many as you wanted. Every DoD contractor started having coins made for their programs and teams etc… They are literally EVERYWHERE. You can walk into most units and they’ll happily sell to as many as you want. It’s an entire industry now. Until the early 2000s coins were basic, circular with no color on them. Just your crest or unit emblem and mission on each side. Now they come in every conceivable size and shape you could imagine and are coated in thick layers of color enamel etc… They hardly resemble the coins of old.

It’s cool he gave you one, and it’s not meaningless. He clearly appreciates the work you did for him. But the magic of coining someone had long since disappeared.

Active duty Major who’s been in since 95 here btw.

The ubiquity of coins was inevitable, that’s a good point. Nevertheless, it’s nice the student told the OP the story of his particular piece. It could have been a ceremonial rock or Elvis Presley’s mosqito wing pin–it’s the story behind the award that matters.

Your student highly respects you. Yes, challenge coins are common now, but the presentation of one to someone you respect is the real deal. I am very proud of the coins given to me over the years.

The air terminal in Maine has a dedicated group of people who meet and greet all flights of military personnel returning from overseas deployments. They have many thousands of challenge coins, more than they have space to display. It is incredible to see.