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Custom Coin of the Month April 2019
ARCENT/CJTF-OIR Bottle Opener Coin

Military Challenge Coins

This month’s challenge coin is a great example of the versatility and specificity of challenge coin design: versatility in that this collectable custom coin doubles as a bottle opener and specificity in its celebration of a very particular part of a particularly important ongoing mission. All the clues to this challenge coin’s unique story are hidden in plain sight across the breadth of its full-color face. Putting all the pieces together brings an already gorgeous piece of art to vibrant life, celebrating an unsung element of our continued engagement in the Middle Eastern theatre.


Is This A Funny Challenge Coin?

The first thing that stands out about this month’s featured challenge coin is obviously its characteristic shape: this is a bottle opener. Given who this custom coin honors, this might make you crack a smile. A little bit of levity is likely in order given the wildly stressful environment those operating within Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve must deal with from time to time, not to mention the waiting in between. 

Most members of the general public do not understand the United States’ current military role in the Levant and surrounding regions. Though active combat and suppression was at one time a large part of the mission, the relative peace of today means that our priorities in the Middle East have shifted. Now, in coalition with other interested allies both in the region and from among our historic partners abroad, Operation Spartan Shield operates as a force and Intelligence deterrent against further outbursts of terroristic insurgency in the Middle East.

ARCENT, or United States Army Central, operates within the theatre as part of the greater mission of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. After the effective defeat of ISIS in 2017, the operations of the CJTF turned away from taking territory back from insurgents and toward maintaining peace in the region. This has been accomplished through the strategic allocation of both kinetic and Intelligence resources to support the local populations in the rebuilding efforts while at the same time reacting to upwelling insurgent activity with highly-effective suppression tactics. As the mission continues, the soldiers on the ground continue to be the most valuable part of the overall strategy. And, among these soldiers, the majority are not actively engaging in combat operations. Rather, they are doing the behind-the-scenes work that makes the entire machine run smoothly. This month’s challenge coin recognizes a very particular group of soldiers that perform a very important job: air traffic control.


Custom Bottle Opener Challenge Coins

As evidenced by the name of three prominent regional airfields emblazoned across the blue strip cutting off the bottom third of this intricately-crafted coin, this bottle-opener-shaped monument to the outstanding commitment of Operation Spartan Shield’s air traffic controllers is a group effort. This makes sense given CTJF-OIR’s emphasis on regional cooperation. And, indeed, in an area as relatively compact as the Middle Eastern theatre, air traffic control can feel rather intimate, even from hundreds of miles away.

That’s because the operators involved in controlling Operation Spartan Shield’s airspace must deal with a massive variety of different aircraft, originating from all over the world, and make snap decisions in unison with their counterparts on other airfields when it really counts. The results of hastiness or poor judgement in air traffic control situations are notable for their severity. Good thing these operators run their ships like the well-oiled machines they should be. Their indefatigable steadfastness fits right in with CJTF-OIR’s mission: we are in it for the long haul, and we must take the long view and be patient. Victory is coming.


Collectable Army Challenge Coins

If being patient also means kicking back with a cold beverage at the end of the day, this is the coin you want. In the desert heat, there are few things more satisfying. And, back on the homefront, whenever you bust out your utilitarian piece of military history at the barbeque, everyone will want to know what it is and where you got it. This is the charm of a custom military challenge coin, and especially one with a special-order shape such as this month’s piece: the story it tells goes deeper than simple words.

Take the three flags displayed across the top of our featured coin: These are the flags of the United States, Kuwait, and Iraq. The relationship between these three countries is certainly complex, with a history full of ups and downs. Today, however, they are united with other important allies through CJTF toward the end of guaranteeing peace and victory in the region.


Your Own Military Challenge Coin Story

Not everyone thinks of air traffic control when imagining what the war effort in the Middle East looks like. Nonetheless, it plays a much larger role than most realize. Creating a custom army challenge coin to celebrate the hard-working and diligent soldiers that control the air in the Levantine theater gives us all the opportunity to understand a little more fully the complexities that go into keeping a mission like Operation Inherent Resolve running. Unit Coins has been celebrating heroes in every branch of service in the military and beyond for over ten years. We know that every person who serves deserves to be celebrated for a job well done. Without the valiant air traffic controllers honored in this month’s custom challenge coin, there is no way Operation Spartan Shield could continue to mitigate emergent threats in the region.


Designing a Custom Army Challenge Coin

When it’s time to honor the heroes in your life, turn to Unit Coins. As a veteran-owned business operating within the USA, we have a deep commitment to making sure every customer we design coin for comes away feeling special. This is our part of the fight: honoring those who make peace and justice possible with amazing custom collectable coins. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

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