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SHUTTLE USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - Monday, April 25, 2011

Quite a Collection

Big ‘E’ Sailors make hobbies of accumulating command coins

Photo by MC3 Austin Rooney

Monday, April 25, 2011


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Enterprise News Challenge coins: A unique tradition

By MC3 Austin Rooney

USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At sea – As Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) go above and beyond to accomplish their mission April 24, there are many ways for them to receive acknowledgement for their outstanding work. One of the most unique ways to show appreciation for a job well done in the military is through the tradition of giving service members a “challenge coin.” Challenge coins are usually large bronze coins that bear the emblem of a specific unit, ship or even an individual. They are traditionally awarded to another crew member via a handshake to signify appreciation or to commemorate an operation or important meeting. According to popular legend, military challenge coins originated during World War I when a downed pilot escaped from his German captors, donned civilian clothes, and made his way back to allied lines only to be ‘challenged’ by French forces who threatened to execute him. The pilot was saved when the French soldiers recognized his squadron’s insignia, emblazoned on a medallion he wore around his neck. Now, challenge coins are often one of the simplest and most meaningful ways for someone of a higher rank or important position to show someone respect or gratitude in the military.

Photo by MC3 Austin Rooney

With hundreds of different challenge coins aboard Big ‘E’, from squadron coins to the commanding officer’s coin, coin collecting has become a hobby for numerous Sailors. They are often collected for display in shadowboxes when service members retire, signifying years of dedication and achievement. Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class (SW) Annette McHenry, the leading petty officer for Enterprise’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation division, said she began collecting coins when she worked as the leading petty officer of the War Games department at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where she was ‘coined’ by many distinguished visitors to the college including the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughhead, and

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West. McHenry, whose collection has grown to 22 coins, said the most satisfying way to earn a coin is by doing a good job and earning the gratitude it represents. There are often challenge coins for sale at various units and posts, but McHenry said having the coin awarded to you is part of the challenge to collecting them. “I like to earn all of my coins,” said McHenry. “It’s a lot about timing, but you also have to challenge yourself to always be motivated to do your job, and to do it well.” McHenry said she also enjoys sending coins home to her son, who keeps them in a treasure chest in his room. “He really looks forward to getting coins from me,” said McHenry. “It’s a nice way to preserve memories and a cool way to give my son a way to

understand what I do at work.” Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Eileen Arthur, CMC for the “Dragonslayers” of Helicopter Anti Submarine Squadron (HS) 11, has her own personal challenge coin that awards to any Sailor whom she deems deserving. Though she said all of her Sailors work hard and most deserve a coin, she has to pick certain Sailors to give them to so as not to make the experience commonplace. “I look for the person who least expects it and appreciates the meaning behind it,” said Arthur. “There isn’t one certain action that earns a coin from me.” Arthur said she thinks giving a Sailor a coin is all about showing appreciation for hard work and dedication. While coins can also be bought in stores or handed out freely, Arthur said the traditional meaning behind giving a Sailor one is showing that even if they don’t think so, they went above and beyond in whatever task it was they were doing at the time. In addition to handing them out, Arthur also has a large coin collection - which recently grew to over 500 coins. “I appreciate the history behind them and just how many people in the Navy you come in contact with from different ships, squadrons, submarines, commands and countries,” said Arthur. “Each coin has a story - almost like a photo album of my career in a glass enclosed table.”

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Sailors of the Day

Damage Controlman Fireman

Logistics Specialist Seaman

Brittney A. Henry - Daytona Beach, Florida

DCFN Henry, a maintenance person assigned to Engineering’s DC division, joined the Navy two years ago to “experience different aspects of life.” To Henry, the most rewarding aspect of her job is her enjoyment of taking things apart and piecing them back together. “I’m mechanically inclined, so putting together valves is what keeps me going - it’s just interesting!” Henry is working hard to make 3rd class petty officer and doing her best work every day. She plans on going back to school after this deployment. Henry enjoys sleeping, hanging out with friends, trying new foods and going to the beach during her spare time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anthony Joseph - Brooklyn, New York

LSSN Joseph, a plane captain assigned to the “Dragonslayers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11, joined the Navy two years ago to find a new work environment, travel the world and further his education. To Joseph, the most rewarding aspect of his job is “feeling like I am a better person for serving my country and that my duties contribute to saving lives and defending freedom.” Joseph is working hard to earn his EAWS pin and aspires to apply for the STA-21 program to become a naval officer in the near future. During his free time, Joseph enjoys working out, listening to music and watching football and basketball games.

Photos by MCSN Jared M. King


Photos by MC3 Nick C. Scott and MC1(SW) Rebekah Adler

Quite a Collection  
Quite a Collection  

Big 'E' Sailors make hobbies of accumulating command coins