Civilians, Corporations Picking up Military Traditions
A military news release noted Brig Gen Mark Corson handing out “commander’s coins” for excellence in February.
The…soldiers received the coins for their dedication to mission success by Brig. Gen. Mark Corson.
[Cpl Steven] Teel explained what it meant to him to receive the coin. “To be able to serve in so many different positions and be successful in the position is an honor in itself,” he said.
“Challenge coins,” as they are known, have become an important part of the ethos of the armed forces…Traditionally, commanders hand out the coins to troops for exemplary service and morale boosting….That’s why it [means] so much.
To some, they’ve essentially become glorified business cards:
But in recent years, many outside the military have adopted the tradition, turning a sacrosanct ritual, some say, into a form of military chic that is now part of the Washington power game. The coin craze extends into almost every nook of the federal government. The secretaries of education, transportation and agriculture have coins. So does the EPA administrator, and even the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Information Technology.
The coins have gone global – the Australian ambassador has one. And corporate: Boeing has a coin. So does Starbucks.
This isn’t the only military tradition that has leaked into other parts of society. It may not even be so benign; perhaps military members moving into civilian roles simply take their traditions with them.