An E-Sylum reader forwarded this article about challenge coins issued at Florida State University. The articles history of challenge coins may be a bit of a fractured Fairy Tale (correct me if I'm wrong, folks), but nevertheless these remain an interesting numismatic sidelight.
For Ted Rybicki the GI Bill and FSU made all the difference. Now, if challenged, he can prove it.
At the annual Emeritus Alumni Luncheon held for Florida State University alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago, FSU Veterans Center director Billy Francis handed out special FSU challenge coins, or medallions, to veterans who were present, about 15 in total.
One of these recipients, Ted Rybicki, a Korean War veteran, enrolled in FSU after finishing his service in 1955. He estimates that he had finished about a year’s worth of classes while in the Air Force and was able to finish a degree in journalism in only two years at FSU in 1957. Rybicki credits his “fruitful” career in news media and public relations to the GI Bill.
“I’m very proud to be a veteran. I’m humbled to get the medallion,” he said.
According to Francis, the tradition started when a U.S. airman from a wealthy background had coins made for his company with their insignia.
At least one man kept his coin on him at all times. His plane went down behind enemy lines and, after being found by Allied forces who suspected him of being a German saboteur, he produced the coin as proof that he was an American.
“The tradition of the challenge coin goes back to WWI and they are part of military heritage,” said Francis.
To read the complete article, see:
FSU salutes veterans with challenge coins
Wayne Homren, Editor
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