NMEAM Custom Challenge Coin

Custom Challenge Coins for Your Organization

updated 4/23/2017

This month’s splendid custom coin was commissioned by the National Mighty Eighth Air Museum. The National Mighty Eighth Air Museum in Pooler, Georgia preserves the heroic history of the “Mighty” Eighth Air Force, whose relentless bombing runs paved the way for Allied victory in Europe.

The heroic actions of the Mighty Eighth Air Force paved the way for the Allied victory in Europe.

On January 8th 1942, the 8th Army Air Force was activated in Savannah, Georgia. It was composed of three subordinate units: the VIII Fighter command, the VIII Bomber Command, and the VIII Ground Air Services Command. The “Mighty” 8th has its origins in 1944 reorganization of American Airpower in preparation for the European campaign which saw the VIII Bomber Command becoming the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe.

The Mighty 8th focused on daylight strategic bombing runs using their B-17 Flying Fortresses, a mission that some them seeing nearly 40% casualties over the course of the campaign. Nonetheless, without the valiant Airmen of the Mighty 8th, there is no way the Allies would have been able to liberate France and eventually defeat the Nazis.

In July 1945, the Mighty 8th moved to Japan. It was recognized early on that much of the war in the Pacific was an air war. In preparation for the expected ground invasion of Japan, the Mighty 8th began training bomber pilots. Of course, that ground invasion never came. In 1946, the Mighty 8th relocated its command to MacDill Field in Florida.

In 1965, the Mighty 8th would see action again in Asia, this time in the Southeast. Known as LINEBACKER II, the bombing campaign targeting Hanoi and Haiphong inflicted tremendous enemy casualties. After this, their next major action would see them wreaking havoc on Saddam Hussein’s forces during operations DESERT STROM, DESERT STRIKE, and DESERT FOX. They currently operate to support the goals of operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

The Mighty Eighth Air Force remains one of the most decorated units in United States military history, and the National Mighty Eighth Air Museum endeavors to tell their inspiring and harrowing story through state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits, authentic World War II-Era artifacts, and of course the spectacular flying machines that VE Day possible. Unit Coins created this month’s custom challenge coins to celebrate the ongoing restoration of an iconic B-17 named “The Spirit of Savannah.”

Custom B-17 Challenge Coin

The B-17 bomber holds a special place in the heart of all World World II air war historians. Known as the “Flying Fortress,” the B-17 was instrumental in executing the Combined Bomber Offensive, clearing the path for Allied forces to retake France. Its four massive propellers generated a thudding buzz that the pilots and crew of these planes will never forget, and its incredible (for the time) payload meant that each mission it flew generated more impact than any bomber ever before. “The Spirit of Savannah” was the finest example of a B-17 bomber the National Mighty Eighth Museum was able to locate. Even so, this plane was no garage queen. She saw plenty of action in Europe, and just like any other piece of working equipment, wears the scratches and bruises to prove it.

The National Mighty Eighth Air Museum says this about “The Spirit of Savannah”: “The B-17 Flying Fortress “City of Savannah” will be restored to its full combat configuration, including operation systems and components, with the goal of making it the finest static display B-17 in the world.”

To celebrate this ambitious project, the National Mighty Eighth Air Museum asked Unit Coins to craft this gorgeous custom challenge coin. On the “Mighty Eighth” face, you will find the instantly recognizable emblem of the Eighth Air Force with debossed edges causing the golden winged eight and star pop off the surface of the coin. “Masters of the Air” arches between the wing tip in raised lettering, all against a deep cerulean epoxy resin background.

On the obverse, “The Spirit of Savannah” is intricately rendered in debossed exposed metal against a light blue background bearing the model designation “B-17G” and the plane’s name “City of Savannah” in the same script as is found on the nose of the actual machine. A darker blue outer ring provides a place for the “National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force” text to shine, while a polished rope design finishes the edge of both faces.

Custom Challenge Coins For Your Organization

There is no limit to the design possibilities a custom challenge coin offers. Whether yours is a military unit or a civilian ally, everyone appreciates the durability and intricate custom craftsmanship employed in the manufacture of these coins. Talk to the custom challenge coins design experts at Unit Coins for details about your custom challenge coin design.