The Governor’s Coin?


At one of the MPR story meetings yesterday, an editor said “Gov. Pawlenty is at an undisclosed location,” which means Iraq… except when it means Kosovo, I guess, because that’s where he turned up today to visit members of the Minnesota National Guard.

A lot of folks have forgotten about Kosovo and the “peace-keeping” mission that President Clinton left for President Bush. It’s been almost 9 years.

According to the governor’s Web site, Gov. Pawlenty is shown awarding “Spc. Michael Anderson, the Governor’s Coin after Anderson helped escort him to sites around Kosovo.”

The Governor’s Coin? What’s on The Governor’s Coin? How do you get one? How much are they worth?

I’ve sent a request to the gov’s office for a picture and some history. If you have some insight into the coin, by all means post it in the comment section. (Update: Gov’s office to send pictures on Monday.)

  • Lily

    I was wondering the same….

    I have a coin collection (have had since the 5th grade)…

    Please let us know what you find out here and report back. Do you need to be deployed somewhere to get one? If so, I am in trouble as I am too old.

  • Perhaps The Challenge Coin is what the office was referring to. Here is the info on it:

    Warrior to Citizen Challenge Coin Program

    “The Warrior to Citizen Campaign coin is a symbol of gratitude for service to our state and nation. It also recognizes that a veteran’s continued service—in the community—is both important and valued. Challenge coins are carried as a symbol of pride, teamwork and unity amongst the bravest of our society.”

    Who can receive the coin?

    “The coin is about Honoring the Service in all Services. Everyone who served in the United States Armed Forces is eligible for the coin. Military ID is required to receive the coin at hosted events such as Military Appreciation Days and Veteran Service Fairs.”

    The Vessey Chapter of AUSA, as a participant in the Warrior to Citizen Campaign, has taken the lead in getting coins made and presented to Minnesota veterans. The chapter is a 501C 3 non profit #53-0193361

    Would your business like to honor veterans who carry the Warrior to Citizen coin with incentives, discounts, or some other special recognition?

    Contact data is at the website.

    What is a Challenge Coin?

    There are many stories about the origin of the challenge coin, but the most widely accepted one comes from the early history of the United States Army Air Service.

    Read the history on the website.

    The coins are made in Minnesota by Wendell’s Inc.

  • nancy
  • Steve

    It is common for military veterans to have a challenge coin from each of the units they have served with. Below is another story on the history of the challenge coin.

    (Collins: Yes, but this was called The Governor’s Coin. It was implied that this is not the unit coin)


    Story by Cpl. Wil Acosta

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (March 4, 2005) — Military Unit Coins. Throughout the Corps, one can find these medal artifacts displayed proudly by Marines at their desks and in their offices. Some are simple and colorless. Others are ornate, filled with intricate designs and etchings. All of them have a story behind them.

    The following story, which dates the history of military coins back to the 1st World War, was passed on throughout the network of senior enlisted Marines via email.

    During World War I, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy young men who left colleges such as Yale and Harvard in order to enlist in the military.

    In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered solid bronze medallions embossed with the squadron emblem for every member of his squadron. He carried his medallion in a small leather sack about his neck.

    Shortly after acquiring the medallions, the lietetenant’s aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire during a mission. He was forced to land behind enemy lines where he was captured by a German patrol.

    In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck.

    He was eventually taken to a small French town near the front lines where he managed to escape during a night bombardment. During the attack, he donned civilian clothes and fled without personal identification.

    After escaping, the brave pilot succeeded in avoiding German patrols until he reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man’s land and stumbled into a French outpost.

    Unfortunately, the French in this sector had been plagued by German saboteurs, who sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot’s American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him.

    Just in time, the American remembered his leather pouch containing the bronze medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners. When the French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion, they gave the pilot enough time to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him, they gave him a bottle of wine.

    Eventually the pilot made it back to his squadron, where it became a tradition to ensure all members carried their medallion or coin at all times.

    This was accomplished through a challenge. A service member would ask to see the coin. If the challenger could not produce his coin, he was required to purchase a drink of choice for the member who had challenged him.

    If the challenged member produced his coin, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink.

    This tradition continued through the war and for many years after while surviving members of the squadron were still alive.

    Today, military service members often trade these coins while deployed. In some cases a coin can be earned meritoriously for a job well done.

    Regardless of how they are required, the history of the challenge coin remains a part of military tradition, and Marines will continue to display them proudly for years to come.

  • I wonder if it’s the same. I asked Brian McClung (bia e-mail) if the coin is specific to Minnesota. He said it was. We’ll see Monday.

  • c

    Here I thought it was a special coin for a gum ball out of the Mickey Mouse gumball machine.

  • bsimon

    ‘Undisclosed location’ could also refer to the VP bunker.

  • Bob Collins

    No response yet from the gov’s office today. They promised to provide a picture today.

  • What’s our exit plan for Kosovo? Do we have one? Or are we going to just going to sit around for 60 years “keeping the peace” like we’ve done in Korea?

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