« 99% Invisible

156- Coin Check

2015-03-10 | 🔗

The United States Military is not known for being touchy-feely. There’s not much hugging or head-patting, and superiors don’t always have the authority to offer a serviceman a raise or promotion. When a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent invisible. I'm roman Mars, once went to a small business and TAT Conference in San Francisco and among all the people have not been in hoodies or Khakis amiss. And emerged in full military attire D. Green uniform with ribbons on his chest and tiny pins or perfectly affixed Krueger whole nine yards He was a marine lieutenant colonel and he was by far the most interesting person in the room. I was just glued to an end, as we party ways he handed me this coin. Like thing I mean it was bigger than a coin- was better internet half in diameter, ornately decorated with the icon of the Lieutenant colonels unit in Heaven? than anything I care to keep him my wallet. I felt incredibly honoured but I didn't know what it was or what the hell I was supposed to do with it. I also a coin like thing it was from a tour guided the Pentagon.
I asked him what it was and he was like it's just something. We do a retrial. I told my housemaid ban about my coin and he was like oh yeah. I have one of those it was my grandfather's is. I won't Bennett before I came to work, so we sound really sleepy so his coin as from the hundred first airborne scattered the hundred first airborne insignia chose a couple of their places. They fought Vietnam World WAR, two back to rendezvous with destiny, which is their model there. Creed. I tell you that I actually never met him. This is the only thing that I have of his every night figured out that these coins are called challenge coins and they our coins, but they're, not currency. Quite metals challenge Hence our something different areas,
did- I say here today is my own personal opinion does not necessarily reflect the position of the marine corps. Under that carry future is not in the Marines she's. A cultural anthropologist at Marine Corps University she's encountered challenge coins many times throughout her career. I would imagine that, except for a brand new people coming in Everybody will know that they exist the degree to which they are used varies a great deal this can depend on which military branch you serve in and your rank, but it goes further than that. There are so many different views. So many different kinds of things, that the coins can simpler, depending on the context in which you're looking at them were. Somebody is giving them Carry says that one of the meetings of the coins is made apparent in the act of giving or exchanging them the king, brains are literal tokens of gratitude of appreciation or love or sympathy. They are
powerful and tangible form of connection within an institution that is not known for being very touchy feely, it can be difficult in certain contexts too. Express emotion, especially if its across the ranks- and I do think that the coins there used in that way is as a physical symbol of of affection or gratitude, so close ranks people might be given up looking for a job well done, because our only so many ways to show appreciation within the military. You can't give a person arrays, you can't give them a promotion, at least give them that symbolic indicator of our feelings, about the work that you are doing. But, of course, as ever, and I learned these coins are occasionally given how to civilians most of the time. I would give a coin just to say. Thank you for your help me out. That's crazy, Mcgrath he's a chief, petty officer in the Navy and collect and trade
challenge going to Chris says he gives coins are two coworkers old friends. Anyone who doesn't solid and for that reason you mean that funding these coins in places where you would not expect to find any connection to the military. You know like in the hands of wimpy pod castors like and the coins are away to establish relationships outside of the institution when these coins get sent out there. Physical reminder of both the fact that the military is there, but perhaps more importantly, that it's not some faceless monolithic structures, sitting in the Pentagon. There are human beings involved and they are human beings who can develop of professional and personal relationship with somebody outside the military when I received my coin from the Pentagon tore guide. He just then unceremoniously handed it to me, but within the military when
sailor, a soldier or a pilot, or marine gives a coin I don't just handed over. There is a traditional handshake. Of course, there Your handshake is is used whenever someone is transferring one of the coins over an essentially you have the coin sitting in in the palm of your hand and then, with the coin in your palm, he firmly grasped the hand of the person you want to give the coin to then you flip your both with your hands over. Winds up in their hand. Chris has an amazing collection of challenge coins. Some don't look like regular coins at all of you, I'm here shaped like a ninja star. I've got another one shaped like a tail like a crown in this one is ax. It's shaped like a cougar profile of you, but the teeth are open and you can actually use it as a bottle, opener and bottle opener. May be quite practical because, in addition to being gifts and heirlooms and tokens of appreciation challenge coins are used to play a drinking game you are in possession of a coin. You can be
I'm Agape Jordan hands a veteran of the AIR Force place like this. If I was at a bar avid have the coin in my pocket and if I felt embolden at Pull Goin coin out of my pocket, I would I would throw it down on the bar or might tappitt and maybe holler out coin Jack. And all his buddies and crew members would take out their courts. We expect him to reply with there coin. Doing the same thanks, Now you ve gotten us craziness goin on speakers slammed the climb down in Yelena Point Jack going Jack They go down the line and each person pulls out there. Quite hopeful But what happens if somebody doesnt have their coin, and if they don't have a coin, then the person without their coin buys everyone a drink, but the person who does the coin check is liable for rounded drinks if everybody does have their coin. So starting the question
It is also a gamble and not all of the branches of the military are into the drinking game. I will say that I have not seen marine. Initiate that kind of game, they would certainly participate. If somebody from another service, that, but those who play the game are in it to win it. Some have their coins on them, always little useless coin pocket. You have in your genes of actually found a use for it needs for my challenge, going you gotta beyond your toes you Norman. If you're in a shower, you know take your going with you if you're out running wherever you're doing it carried a coin with you, you could be Goin right here in the studio. As far as the history a challenge coins they sort of a pocketful, storing it places them back to World war, one when an american army officer supposedly had some special coins minted for his men, and then one of those men was captured by french soldiers who mistook him for a German, and then he used his coin to prove that he was an american silver coin. Have also always been about identity. They do tell,
A story about The EU or the organ Station, wants to be perceived. What did they think are the most important things that they can communicate about themselves to outside audience in graphic form and since identity in the military has a lot to do with hierarchy. There is also a hierarchy with challenge coins. As you move up through the ranks seal, the challenge coins become more essentially valuable because their harder to get its harder to get a chief enable operations coin. It's even harder to get a secretary of the Navy coin. It sink pretty hard to get a presidential goin. Yes, the president has a coin. Has a really lovely video of Obama giving his coin to a woman who lost her brother in Afghanistan and the military? Isn't the only institution to use challenge coins, although they were the first now some police departments make coins and some fire departments NASA gets coins. Minted sports teams have coins.
He buffet has a coin Jimmy Buffet, the singer. Yeah, that's Jordan, hands again he's the one who told us about the drinking game a lot of these performers. You know if they're doing you are so tour de have further coin with them in return to ever presents them a coin. In addition to being a collector of coins, but is actually in the business of making coins he's made over three million of them, including Jimmy Buffet I am the founder and ceo of COIN force, dot com Force is one of the private means that designs and manufactures challenge coins. I'm home. In a coin that I brought with me to the studio, a diamond shape: coin net we made for astronaut Lindgren Scott, his name on it. Translucence ass. It's like just super awesome coin, my god, we do all some work. You don't have to be a precedent or an astronaut or Jimmy buffet. You too can have a coin. You can design your own and then just go online and order it that's basically with, Military does most of the time a unit gets together.
Talks about what they want in their coin and then gathers the money for it themselves through. Not using taxpayer dollars, that's all our own for our own. So we are swear fundraising internally or we're doing. Car washes because coins are not in the budget. There's no said procedure for making them and no rules, which means that design process is very informal nine times, a ten in the navy. Someone takes that sketch and they use Clipperton put into Powerpoint and then send it off to the manufacture. Powerpoint, Microsoft, Powerpoint Powerpoint is installed on every government computer and it's you know four class it's free and then Jordan at COIN Force or whoever the manufacturers will take that mark up and as a final design on professional grid software. A design studio does not use Powerpoint to design a child each coin, that's a relief, the India Do coins take on a whole new meaning when a bunch are displayed together and a lot?
military folks make elaborate displays or even custom furniture to show off. Their collection, of course, Some displays are much simpler in Clinton's presidential portrait. He's posing in front of his collection of challenge coins and there in a simple wooden display. But these coins They are not like a flash of achievement at all, becomes less a display of look at me more a display of a lot of law, quiet hard work over the course of decades. The coin show all the professional and personal relationships established over the course of a career. You're in the army and have coins from mere force in your collection. It shows, You ve collaborated across military branches, which can be really hard to do. The coins are physical proof of hard, far relationships to me. The coins are full of interesting contradiction. There combination of God avatar and tradition with levity enjoy, like my friend,
and if he wanted could go- take that heirloom of his grandfathers time in World war, two in Vietnam and go when a beer with it. You might not do. Those too things with the same coin. Some people might, but that's just one of the lovely contradictions that you find all over military life in a whirl. Is regulated and rigorous as that of the United States military. The coins of this fluid quality about them, their different coin, check rules for different branches, The coins use and popularity varies the history, have a set telling the design doesn't have set rules. There is Obviously, a very regimented very structured, very rule, bound aspect to the military, but challenge coins and a lot of other things that are routine parts of May military life mitigate that structure?
challenge coins are a reminder of the human element of the massive. U S, military, a reminder that some servicemen constantly carry I've been quite checked at the airports, have been quite checked at trade. Shows I've been going check everywhere? Now might now my homes off limits, don't be like crawling up my balcony at three I am to do. Point check on me on my property, but you get you that's how to my property than you know, game on. There's no way, I'm climbed up on that dude balcony at three p m. Ninety nine percent, invisible was produced this week by every travelling with Katy Mingle, seem Greenspan and me roman Mars, special links to Ben Glass for waken up so early
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.