Challenge Coin – Keychain
Traditional coin of Navy Chief Petty Officers
Bahrain/ 2015 – when she was initiated as a Chief Petty Officers
Among the different coins that she collects, this specific coin is the most important. It has the three core values of the Navy: honor, courage, and commitment. It means being always faithful to the navy.
Every chief has to carry a coin at all times. The origin of this tradition comes from the 2nd World War when a Navy pilot was shot and saved by the coin that was in his neck.
If you are in somewhere that you don’t know anyone, you can recognize other chiefs by their coins.
But, be aware! If a group of chiefs goes to a bar, each one of them must tap their coins and if someone is missing her/his coin, she/he must pay a drink for all of the others.
Sarita just came back from the annual initiation, that included the Final Pinning Ceremony (promotion) and she has various coins in her backpack as well. One that is very interesting – and beautiful – is the one from Carl Brashear, the first black navy diver
The coins represent communities and its an representative/ integration artifact. The trading and collection of coins are now part of the navy tradition.
Sarita has so many different stories from personal and professional experiences. In 2015, her initiation year, she lived in the USS Ponce Deployment ship for a whole year and traveled a lot. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jebel Ali and Djibouti were some of the destinations. She also had to face various challenges, for example, sharing a small sleeping compartment with 14 women in total.