NADI, FIJI –25th Infantry Division, awarded “Challenge Coins” during Exercise Cartwheel, 16 September 2022. Col. Michael van Welie Deputy Commander, Interoperability, 25th Infantry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Roney, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, shared the history behind the “Challenge Coin” and its relevance within the U.S. Army.
The 25th Infantry Division (ID) coin shape symbolizes the taro leaf, indicative of the 25 ID lineage from the Hawaiian Division. 25 ID was formed on 1 October 1941 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The yellow lighting flash alludes to how they perform their assignments and the Division nickname. The “Tropic Lightning” name was earned due to their superior performance during operations in the Solomon Islands while fighting the Japanese in November 1942. Receipt of a coin from the 25 ID, who has been present in every action since 7 December 1941, is a great honor.
The challenge coin history is convoluted, with stories of it starting in the 1960s back to the Roman armies. The rules of the challenge coin also vary from unit to unit, but two are the most common. The first, a Soldier challenges everyone to see their unit coin, and the soldier without a coin has to buy a round of drinks. The second and most commonly used today is where a soldier or a retiree pulls out a challenge coin, and the other individual presents their coin. The coin with the lowest associated rank has to buy that round of drinks.
Exercise Cartwheel is a multilateral military-to-military training exercise with the United States, Republic of Fiji Military, Australian, New Zealand, and British forces that builds expeditionary readiness and interoperability by increasing the capacity to face a crisis and contingencies by developing and stressing units at the highest training levels.
Print Story by U.S. Army Maj. Dale D. Barnes / 343rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment