When former Georgia native and Army Special Forces Sergeant-Major Jack Nevils wanted to show his appreciation to those in his home state for supporting his fellow fallen and wounded Special Operations troops and to welcome Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal and first lady Sandra Deal to the Capitol, he carried a flag on a Special Forces mission and then flew it in honor of Georgia’s Governor on his Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Iraq.
Pictured (right to left) Laird Canby/OOV, Steve Economos/Eagle Rock Distributing President, Lt Bill Stevens/Duluth Police-OOV, Governor Nathan Deal, First Lady Sandra Deal, David Mansfield /Eagle Rock Distributing SVP, Representative Roger Williams, Dalton, GA.
SGM Nevils’ flag recently completed the 6746 mile journey from Iraq to Atlanta, as volunteers from Operation One Voice and one of the corporate supporters, Eagle Rock Distributing Company presented Governor and Mrs. Deal with the Special Forces flown flag and certificate. In addition, they were presented with two Special Forces challenge coins from the 2011 Honor Ride which honored SFC Leroy Petry and the 2011 Special Operations Forces Run which honored fallen Medal of Honor recipient SSgt Robbie Miller.
Although the true origin of challenge coins is disputed, the rich tradition started sometime during WWII. Each coin is minted with the crest of a specific military branch or battalion. Service men are presented challenge coins to commemorate or congratulate, and to inspire unity and pride in the group’s elite membership. When a service member issues a “challenge” everyone must produce their challenge coin. Those who can’t pull the coin from boot, pocket or backpack are then responsible for buying the next round.
Aside from determining the bar tab, challenge coins serve as cherished mementos from military service. It is not uncommon for Presidents and high ranking officials to have cases of treasured challenge coins documenting their past ranks, tours and accomplishments.