What is this Navy medal??
December 29, 2018 8:25 AM   Subscribe

My dad died a couple months ago. He was enlisted in the Navy from about 1977-97 and was a gulf war veteran. I took a few of his military things as mementos including this medal and no one seems to know what it is, when he got it, or what it was awarded for. I couldn’t find much info from the google. Any information y’all can provide would be much appreciated.
posted by a strong female character to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
This isn't a medal, it is a challenge coin. Your picture is blurry, but eventually I was able to make out the name of a recruiting unit, which is what "Western Command" refers to. At some point your father may have done a tour as a recruiter, or in support of recruiting. Or was close friends with a recruiter who gifted him the coin as a gesture of respect.

The Wikipedia article above actually does a pretty good job of explaining challenge coin culture. People in the military buy into it in various levels of commitment, I was always pretty "meh" on the challenge/drinking part of it, but I enjoyed giving them to people who had made a difference in my life or career.

For confirmation, you can see the same unit insignia (heraldry-shield thing) on the current Western Sector command website.
posted by seasparrow at 8:51 AM on December 29, 2018 [5 favorites]

I found this website for the US Military Entrance Processing Command.

The command, through its 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations, determines whether applicants are qualified for enlistment based on standards set by each of the services. Two geographic sectors and twelve battalions provide intermediate management in operating the MEPS. The Eastern Sector Headquarters and Western Sector Headquarters are colocated with the command headquarters in North Chicago.
posted by cooker girl at 8:52 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

For a narrative introduction to Challenge Coins, 99% Invisible did an excellent episode about them.
posted by mmascolino at 10:25 AM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

My wife identified the skyline on this challenge coin as being Denver, Colorado (she's from around Fort Collins).

With a bit of googling, this looks to be a challenge coin probably from the Denver office of 3rd Battalion USMEPCOM.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:49 PM on December 29, 2018

Thank you everyone! This is super helpful. (And I don’t know how I didn’t notice the Denver skyline!)
posted by a strong female character at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2018

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