East Tennessee Military Affairs Council: (865) 637-4550

ETMAC Challenge Coin

A little bit of history about our coin:
The ETMAC Challenge Coin, which is two inches in diameter, shows the ETMAC logo on the front (“heads”), along with a little bit of our history and our mission – Building a Community Since 1990 – as well as our location in Knoxville, TN. On the reverse (“tails”), we describe the military members of our community – Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, Veterans and Retirees – and then bring in the rest of the civilian population by proudly displaying the US and Tennessee flags. (The actual coin has a gold colored pebbled background to help the images and text appear three dimensional, and there is a gold colored rim.)

On the “heads” side of the coin, our logo shows a large eagle, with the Smoky Mountains in the background, where an eagle can be seen flying overhead. A band of white below the eagle is a symbol of the rivers or roads that run through the mountains. This logo was designed in 2013 by Laddie Fields, an artist working for the Knoxville Chamber. The “tails” side of the coin was designed by ETMAC member Barry P. Allen, and the coin was first produced in 2013.

Challenge coins are now in widespread usage. They are typically viewed as a relatively recent military tradition (possibly dating to the early 1900s, depending on your reference source. Other sources push the history back as far as the Roman Empire. We’ll leave the historical “facts” to those who want to do their own research.) The “challenge” part has two general storylines: (1) to identify one soldier as a member of a unit when “challenged” by a sentry or other soldier (regardless of whether the other soldier was a friend or foe); and (2) to be used by soldiers in a bar or restaurant. Whomever is challenged has to produce a coin from the same unit, or their home or another unit, and either the person who is last to show his or her coin, or the one who does not have a coin at all, has to buy the next round of drinks or the meal (all depending on the local “rules”, or those upon which the parties agree.)

ETMAC’s coins have more functional uses. They represent the proud history and community building of this all-volunteer organization, and they are often given out to dignitaries and visitors as a more permanent way of remembering the organization than a simple business card. We also use the coins as a special thank you to people for a job exceptionally well done.

Many people collect “challenge coins” from all the units in which they have served, or wherever they have visited. Others collect them for snapshots of unit histories, or just because they are attractive. Whatever your reason for buying an ETMAC coin, we hope you enjoy yours for many years to come.

ETMAC Challenge Coins cost $15 each. Shipping costs are $5 for the first 1-5 coins + $1 for each additional coin after 5. If you would like to have more than fifteen coins shipped to you, please contact admin@etmac.org. A credit card processing fee of $2 will be added to every order.