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In practice, challenge coins are normally presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit.They are also exchanged in recognition of visits to an organization.He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion.

Challenge coins were also known as "Portrait Medals" during the Renaissance, and were often used to commemorate specific events involving royalty, nobility, or other types of well-to-do individuals.

The medals would be given as gifts or awards, and people also exchanged them with friends and associates.

He had a special coin struck with the unit's badge and motto in 1969.

Until the 1980s, his unit was the only unit with an active challenge coin tradition.

The coin was used to verify, to the guerrillas, that the soldier was their valid contact for the mission against the Japanese.

The challenge coin tradition has spread to other military units, in all branches of service, and even to non-military organizations as well as the United States Congress, which produces challenge coins for members of Congress to give to constituents.

One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck.

Shortly after acquiring the medallion, the pilot's aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire.

The coins were simply a local coin used as a "bona fides" during a personal meeting to help verify a person's identity.

There would be specific aspects such as type of coin, date of the coin, etc. This helped prevent infiltration into the meeting by a spy who would have to have advance knowledge of the meeting time and place as well as what coin was to be presented, amongst other signals, as bona fides.

According to another story, challenge coins date back to World War II and were first used by Office of Strategic Service personnel who were deployed in Nazi held France.

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