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NAVY CHALLENGE COINS:  As we find info on the coins we can post it here so it's easy for everyone to find. 

So we know that NotDaMama found this coin at Power School Graduation.  Hopefully at the next graduation in October someone will find them again and can pick up some extras for others to purchase.  My son has PS graduation in December and if I don't find one before that time then I will definitely be on the lookout and purchase extras.

Also, Craig on the DEP site sells coins on Ebay - go to and you can also purchase them at  You can also go to Northwest Territorial Mint at


Views: 5648


Replies to This Discussion

Comment by kayinaz 2 hours ago

I believe it's a nice tradition that has come about to award recognition.  It's nice to receive a challenge coin along with a letter or citation.  I'm not really sure but to my knowledge there is not a Navy or DOD regulation concerning when or where the challenge coins can be awarded.  I believe it's the commanding officer's discretion at his or her command to set policy concerning which letters and commendations he will award a challenge coin along with. However, what is regulated is using government funding for it.

Nevertheless, Congress has provided specific statutory authority for the SecDef to “award medals, trophies, badges, and similar items” for “excellence in accomplishments or competitions.” (10 U.S.C. Section 1125)


10 U.S.C Section 1125 authorizes actions by the Secretary of Defense

Such actions would take the form of DOD regulations delegating authorities to subordinate Secretaries or subordinate Commanders, or they would be done in the form of  a letter signed by the Secretary of Defense, even if a medal or other device is included, it also comes with a letter of award to the unit or the  individual.

These challenge coins all seem to lack any such letter or other documentation of there providence that would indicate they are official.

It is certainly interesting speculation to suggest that individual commanders have the authority to issue challenge coins, but 10 USC Section 1125 does not grant such authority to commanders.  Speculating on the existence of such regulations is interesting.

But my question was does anyone know of such a regulation authorizing the issuance of official challenge coins?

Comment by CountryGirl 1 hour ago
All this talk about coins.... I have asked a friend who is in the navy as an officer. She had said that each command does usually have a coin that can be collected by anyone who wants to buy them or get them. All ships usually have one in their ships store. She told me you can buy them in the NEX. But... She has said there are SPECIAL ones that the commander or officers have made that they give out for special recognition. For example....the commander of the Truman may have one with his name on it along with the Truman. Not just anyone gets those. They aren't for sale. She did also mention that funding was lost for these coins but each command could use their own money if they chose to.

As a side note, my husband is a defense contractor and he occasionally flies out to fix equipment on the ships etc, he has been given the basic ships coin as a thank you on those very rare,hard or difficult problems our sailors could not fix.
I don't claim to know all but just thought I'd put in my 2 cents for the day.

Thank-you Country Girl.

Very good information.

I found the answer to my own question regarding Navy Regulations and it appears to support what Country Girl says with one caveat.

The coin that has the commanders name on it might not be official in the sense it could be legally purchased with U.S. Government Appropriated Funds.

Navy Regulation legal use of Navy Funds

Army Regulation legal use of Army Funds

The two above regulations are nearly identical and below is a legal opinion on which types of coins could be official in the sense they can be legally paid for with funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress.

Legal opinion on Commanders Coins purchased with U.S. Taxpayer Funds

Otherwise, only those coins awarded rarely,  for individual performance above and beyond could be considered official.  Basically they must meet the same criteria as a reward of a Meritorious Service Medal or a Commendation Medal, that is individual performance of an individual above and beyond what everybody of the same grade is expected to do, before Congressional Authorized Funds can be used to purchase it.

If that is your definition of official then they are very rare and they will almost certainly have a citation that comes with them.

On the other hand if selling them out of the ship's stores and the sailor pays for them himself meets your criteria of official, then that is a different standard.

What the many vendor's are claiming when they use the word "official" on their websites is apparently unknowable because they do not explain their claim and it could simply mean that an official of their private supplier has officially certified the coin, and the word official  has nothing to do with a U.S. government official, nor would the commercial coin have any relationship at all to the coins sold by the ship's stores or the "official coins" purchased with U.S. Government Appropriated Funds and awarded by the Ships Commander.

As for U.S. government funds no longer being available, for those rare purchases of official coins for which funds were ever available,  I doubt seriously if that is true.  The regulation remains unchanged since the 1970s and applies to all medals not just those very rare and inexpensive official Commander's Coins.

Most things people are calling challenge coins, or commanders coins, or unit coins were apparently never official and were never paid for with U.S. government funds and there is no change, they still are not.

Whe my first son went to BC in Nov 2012 I was told they were awarded and I should not get him one. After his PIR and After his twin went to BC 4-2013 I read that there would be no more awarded Coins due to budget cuts. I then bought my twin 1 two one for his A school in IT and the second for the ship he deployed on the USS Bainbridge these were a graduation gift from me and my son was thrilled. He told of other traditions tied to these coins, most not so glorious. But He loved his coins and said he would like to receive more of them,  I plan on getting more for his Twin when he graduates A school here at GC. 

It seems a lot of discussion in circles with many different points of view. Maybe some of you had the awarded medals experience but please keep in mind that if it was prior to the end of 2012 things might have changed and if one insists that it is purely an award than unfortunately the coins are a thing of the past, unless parents want to keep them a tradition in a different way. 

It would appear Navy regulations in place since 1975 would have precluded every graduate of Boot Camp receiving a coin for graduating, if the Navy was paying for it.  All the regulations do, and have for decades, required individual merit above and beyond what everyone must do to graduate.

My son graduated Boot Camp before November 2012, and before January 2012, and before September 30th, 2011.

He never mentioned receiving a coin, but as every mom knows, your son not telling you something happened has little relationship to if it actually happened, or not :)

It would be really cool if some vendor could jump in here and guarantee that the coins he is selling are identical to the ones sold in a Boat's ( or Ship's ) store as the "officially authorized coin of the boat".  I would be interested in those. 

But when someone implies that a U.S. law that does not even mention coins, somehow implies that coins sold by vendors have some relationship to official U.S. government coins issued to sailors on boats, well that sort strikes me as over the top.

Here's the link to an article published on 5/20/13 titled: NAVY FREEZES FUNDING FOR CHALLENGE COINS.

I believe we are all on the same page here.

This linked article, which is from the online journal, DOD BUZ, which is part of the online presence, and describes itself as an: "Online Defense and Acquisition Journal"  was dated and May 20th, 2013, and describes, the impact a May 13th, 2013 naval message may have in the future.

The article makes clear that coins already purchased with appropriated funds may continue to be given out after May 13th, 2013, and that coins can continue to be purchased with non-appropriated funds in the future. This agrees completely with the previously linked navy regulations and the previously linked JAG Legal opinion, and also with "Country Girls" comments.

First, this article does not prevent giving out coins after May 13th, 2013.  It just suspends using appropriated funds to buy inventory replacements for coins intended for some, but not all, purposes, after May 13th, 2013,  for, from the article's only quote of the message things: “such as plaques, ball caps, etc., is suspended until further notice.”  This wording agrees exactly with the wording of the regulations and the legal opinion previously linked.  It also agrees with what "Country Girl" related.

Second, this message that was not even issued until May 13th, 2013, would have had no impact on Boot Camp graduations before that date.  If coins had been given out to all Boot Camp graduates prior May 13th, 2013 they could not have been given out legally with appropriated funds based on the 1970s regulations still in effect today and the much more recent JAG legal opinion.  Boot Camp graduation coins, if they were given out to all graduates,  were not for individual merit above and beyond what was expected of all graduates.

Third, this message explicitly allowed the continued use of appropriated funds for the ongoing purchase of coins intended for representational purposes, intended to be given to outsiders the commander was trying to impress,  after May 13th, 2013.  This alternative use of such coins is described in his linked article:  Coins given for Representational Purposes

The elephant in the room here is that commercial vendors of coins are not even representing that they are selling the same coins as are given out by commanders to members of his command, nor are they representing that they selling the same coins given out by commanders for representational purposes, nor are they representing they are selling the same coins sold at the ship's store of a ship ( or boat ) for the crews collectable purposes.

Any private company can sell any coin they want and call it official, as long as they do not claim it is an official U.S. military coin.  Private companies have officials that can pronounce their own property official.  The lack of any claim that coins are the same as any coin a crew member might buy from the official ship store - or receive from the commander - or even that the coin is the same as representational coins given out by commanders to dignitaries - is telling.  Caveat Emptor.

Hi guys, Before we get lost in the rules about coins.

I believe we are a cheerleading team, and we will let the judges make the rules, while we cheer.

If I had a wish,

I sense a pent-up frustration, that there are few to no nuke coins available to collect.  First, in today's terrorist society, our nuclear programs are not celebrated like days of old.  For good reason that we must respect.  That's why there is no designation on their PO rating patch, of their elite qualifications, although IMHO they deserve it.

Someone should consign a coin to commemorate  "The Pipeline" :  That cruel and inhuman torturous journey that started 2 years ago in Great Lakes, and for me has 6 more, or so, weeks to go before I can change the coin to "I survived the Pipeline" if you catch my meaning.  Boot Camp, A School, Power School, Prototype School has been an intense  life changing experience worthy of commination in bronze of the sacrifice, self denial, discipline, and hard work.  Not to mention the lines, wrinkles, grey and LOST hair I've endured during that time.  Low key, but elegant enough to respect the achievement. If enough of us are willing to commit, I believe we can find the recourses to make it happen, especially if we know someone who makes coins. If I had a wish, I'd use it on this.  Just throwing it out there.

In 6 weeks this thing will be over, win, lose or draw, and I'll never forget the journey. 



Again I say amen to your thoughts NotDaMama. We are on the same page. Our family celebrates all of the milestones. It sounds like some don't want to buy the coins and only want to wait until the Navy gives their sailor one. That is okay. Not me, I buy them whenever they are appropriate. And yes my son has a couple that were given to him. Each coin has its on meaning. I just bought him the Lieutenant one. He earned it fair and square and like you said with blood, sweat, tears, and lots of sacrifices.

I have to admit, I was never seriously interested in coins.  During my 8 year affair with the USN, 2 active and 6 active reserve, I collected zippo lighters with command insignias.  Some are lost but it's still a cute collection, all east coast navy, I separated, honorably as an E3 in 75', I made E4 in 73 but it only lasted a year.  What makes this so special is my Son, 3rd generation Navy, just took the E5 exam and hasn't been in 2 years yet.  I sure don't want him to collect lighters, and Mrs. NDM went wild over the coins I brought home from GL.  The coins are a terrific was to remember his achievements.  Thanks for listening, with the end coming in November, I'm getting nervous, and N4M has always been my favorite therapy.

Hi Ladies...
I'm new to this group, but not to the Navy.  You probably talked to me when you were going through PIR.  I'm a moderator on every PIR group here at NavyForMoms, and also on every Facebook PIR group.  

I also run a website called  I help future sailors prepare for boot camp.  One of my future sailors was a Nuke, and actually wrote what happened day-per-day at boot camp.

The future sailors asked me to come over to NavyForMoms and Facebook to help their parents while they are at boot camp.  That's why you see me in all the groups.

I help future sailors as a hobby.  Some people collect stamps, or beer cans, I collect sailors.  I enjoy when they come back and thank them for getting them past the problem area of boot camp.  

To support my website I make challenge coins. My company is called   I received an message from B'snukemom wondering if we make Nuke coin.  We don't.  However, I am really into making coins that others don't.  Unlike the big companies like Northwest mint, they only make coins for a profit.  Our company makes them so we can continue helping future sailors and our community.  Challenge coins are everlasting.  40 years from now, when your sailor is retired, they will reflect back to the time they received a coin.  I do....

Anyways, I wanted to join this group to understand it.  I want to make a coin that brings the true meaning to a Nuke sailor.  So I will be looking at the pages and probably ask too many questions.  But I want to make the coin something that these sailors want....

I just wanted to let you know why I joined....

Craig (Providing funding for – Our Mission: Remember - Honor – and Teach
“To Remember the fallen; Honor those who serve, and to Teach our future sailors the value of freedom.”


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