Terminal Lance #307 “Why Staff NCO’s Love Challenge Coins”
February 7, 2014
Does anyone remember POGs? No, I’m not talking about Personnel Other-than Grunts, per my usual. I’m talking about those stupid cardboard coins that were really big in the late 90’s. You remember right?
Those things were rad as fuck, bro.
I have a theory. I think that when the POG industry died in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, they probably were looking for a way (desperately) to continue manufacturing these silly things in order to stay in the green. My guess is that they approached the US government with the idea of replacing currency while down-range with POGs to save on shipping cost of heavy coins. It must have worked, because since 2001, AAFES has been printing these POGs and making you use them in place of cash during deployments.
Then comes the Challenge Coins. For those of you that remember, the gameplay of POGs was rather simple. You would pick up a “slammer,” or a heavy metal coin, and toss it down on a stack of POGs. Whoever’s POGs got flipped over to their white backside were lost in the competition, going to the victor. I’ve talked to a number of old veterans from before the modern state of warfare I grew up in, and many of them have told me that challenge coins weren’t nearly as big of a thing as they are nowadays. Through some clever re-branding, the slammer producers were able to convert to making “Challenge Coins” or “Unit Coins” for the military. Tons of diehard sentimental types ate it up, and thus we have what we have today.
Did I just blow your mind?
It’s okay, it’s pretty intense stuff to process. Take your time, this is some Illuminati shit.
Nowadays the game of challenging one’s unit coin is a… thing… in the Marine Corps. It’s a silly game anyway, mostly because we all know what the single most high-ranking coin of the entire bunch is…