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NEWS | March 15, 2024

Fort Hunter Liggett challenge coin reflects military mission while depicting beauty of nature

By Stephen K Robinson Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Office

In an informal setting of more than a dozen colleagues gathered in the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett command headquarters building Garrison Commander Col. Stephen S. Trotter and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Rupp presented Samantha Usrey of Resource Management with the first-pressed garrison challenge coin that she designed for the coin design competition last year .

“I like having the chance to get creative, and I thought this would be a fun challenge,” Usrey said. “I missed the chance to enter the coin challenge a few years back and when I heard there was going to be a new contest, I wanted to give it try.”

The origin of the challenge coin is somewhat murky, but historians speculate it dates to the Roman Empire when Legion Legates and Centurions would award soldiers a coin embossed with the head of Ceasar for going above and beyond in their expected duties. Between the end of the Roman Empire and the start of World War I, the awarding of challenge coins seems to have gotten lost but resurfaced with the start of World War I.

“I wanted to show a side of Fort Hunter Liggett that not everyone gets to see. The Super Bloom that we had last spring was my main inspiration and the elk are so unique to this area that I wanted to include them too,” Usrey continued.

“I had several rough drafts before submitting my final design. After it was selected, I worked with Col. Trotter and CSM Rupp to make the final adjustments and fine-tune it,” Usrey said. “The back of the coin had the most changes and I think everyone is pleased with the final result.”

For military service members the receipt of a challenge coin is quite significant. Whether it is from the President of the United States, a cabinet secretary or an organizational commander, the challenge coin contains such information as the name and/or title of the awarding authority, their position of leadership in their respective organization, the organization’s moto or words of honorable recognition and the organizational crest/logo.

“I felt we needed to have the design come from our community, the selected design that highlights the beauty of Fort Hunter Liggett and the dedication of our directorates to serve all who live, work and train here,” Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Rupp, said.

Challenge coins can be personal/positional as from a unit’s commander or command/unit in recognition of going above and beyond the normal expectation in successful completion of a unit’s mission.

With a smile from ear-to-ear, Usrey added, “It’s an honor that my design was selected by the Command Team, and I hope all the recipients of the coin enjoy it as much as I do.”