From a Grateful American: Why the Challenge Coin is So Highly Prized

Military units have always taken pride in their individual identities, and the Romans were known for producing unique coins to commemorate certain campaigns and legions. These tokens were treasured as priceless mementos of service to the republic.

Although the challenge coin in its current form has been around since World War I, it has only come into wide use in the U.S. military in the last few decades. The legend of the coin goes back to the volunteer airmen from America who flew in battles over France and Germany and used the coins to help prove their identity. There are also records of guerilla units in the Philippines using silver coins with unit insignias to identify themselves to allied forces.

Special coins were struck by certain units in Korea and Viet Nam. According to the history of the Special Forces, a Green Beret unit led by Colonel Verne Green commissioned a special coin in 1969 with the unit’s logo and motto of the 10th Special Forces. That is believed to be the only modern challenge coin actively in use until the mid-80s. Today, most military units and many offices of the government have their own unique challenge coins.

These coins are generally used as a means of special recognition and for building unit esprit de corps. They are collected and prized by those who receive them as a way of recording significant events in their lives.

Many Americans today are asking, “What can I do to thank and support our veterans?” One night, after viewing the film “American Sniper,” we were left with a great sense of awe at what our military men and women and their families sacrifice for each of us. We sat as a group, wondering how we could do more. While there are many needs, we decided on a special coin, something each of us can seize upon and say, “This I can do...”

We have designed this version of the From A Grateful American Coin as one way for you to express your personal gratitude to the veterans you know. They understand the significance of the challenge coin, and will value your effort in providing them with this tangible expression of your appreciation for their service. The coin also provides a number of benefits to a veteran when they register online, including a beautiful certificate of recognition from a grateful nation.

Visit “” to learn how you can order challenge coins for the veterans you know and meet.

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Task Force Home Front & Brotherhood of Thunder

In collaboration with other supporting organizations, Task Force Home Front has played a huge part in the sponsorship for the Brotherhood of Thunder project.

Originated in 2010 by veteran J.D. Collett, Task Force Home Front’s mission is to aid in getting homeless veterans off the streets.

After noticing many homeless veterans in the East Texas area, J.D. Collett took action to develop Task Force Home Front and opened the first official residence in September of 2010.

“Once they come off the street and they see that there are people out there who care and you can help them find some hope and purpose, then they will blossom,” said Collett.

The purpose of Task Force Home Front is to meet the veteran where they’re at when they call – using the tagline “there when the warrior returns.”

Proceeds from the Brotherhood of Thunder documentary sales will go towards helping Task Force Home Front and many other organizations like it.

Rockie Lynne Music & Brotherhood of Thunder


In a recent press release it was announced that music by the popular singer-songwriter, Rockie Lynne, will be featured in the Wheels of Victory Productions “Brotherhood of Thunder: The Story of American Warriors and their Motorcycles” documentary.

Rockie Lynne, who is a veteran of the United States Army, is a board member of Rolling Thunder and the founder of the national charity, Tribute To The Troops, which is dedicated to bringing support to our Gold Star families. He has appeared nationally on “Good Morning America,” Fox News Network, ABC News and has appeared many times on the stage of The Grand Ole Opry.

As a veteran himself, Rockie Lynne relates well through his music to those who have served and to those who are currently serving. Because of his dedication to our veterans and their families combined with his passion for serving others he has aptly been dubbed ’the Voice of Veterans.’

Every year on Memorial Day weekend Rockie rides into Washington D.C. on his motorcycle to join his brothers in Rolling Thunder as they bring national attention to our POWs/MIAs. He and his band are the featured entertainment on the main stage following Rolling Thunder’s annual “Ride For Freedom” at the Lincoln Memorial.

Rockie Lynne’s collaboration with Brotherhood of Thunder will add depth to the documentary and we look forward to releasing his music within the production.

Armed Forces Day 2016 to be held on May 21st

May 21, 2016 will mark the 66th annual celebration of Armed Forces Day. This nationally recognized day originated in 1950 by Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson, in an effort to combine the formally separated Army, Navy and Air Force Days.

The U.S. Department of Defense designed this day in the hopes of spreading awareness and expanding civilian understanding of what role the military plays for our nation.

Today, Armed Forces Day recognizes and honors all those who have served/currently serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated with a particular theme each year. The original theme in 1950 being, “Teamed for Defense”. Some other past themes include “Liberty”, “Patriotism”, “Power for Peace”, “Special Opportunity for Thanks”, etc.

There are many events that take place nation-wide on every third Saturday in May in honor of recognizing Armed Forces Day. Such events include parades, themed motorcycle rides, military displays and gatherings at a number of military memorials.

Armed Forces Day is a time for all people of the United States to pause and thank our servicemen for all it is they do for our nation.

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The Patriot Guard Riders: Honoring the Fallen

The Patriot Guard Riders (“Alone We Can Do So Little, Together We Can Do So Much”) is a nonprofit organization of volunteers who aim to honor the fallen heroes of military service, first responders and honorably discharged veterans. They are far more than a support service, however; they are the invited guests and welcomed friends of mourning families.

The organization consists of riders from all across the nation. They extend a welcoming hand to people of all backgrounds and lifestyles. It does not matter one’s political associations, bike model, or income; and members are not even expected to ride. The only qualification is a deep respect for the public servants that have given their lives to better their communities and serve their country.

The mission of the Patriot Guard Riders is expressed in two ways. First, in showing support and honor to the country's fallen heroes by actively attending funerals. Second, by shielding grieving loved ones from disruptive protesters through nonviolent means.

The Patriot Guard Riders began in 2005 when the wife of American Legion Rider Terry Houck discovered that a group of protestors disrupted the funeral of a solider in Newkirk, Oklahoma. The couple quickly made plans to ride to the funeral in order to show the respect they believed this fallen hero deserved. Houck spoke of this plan with other riders of the Kansas American Legion, who agreed to ride down as well in order to protect and support the family who was being harassed by the protests from the Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).

About a month later on August 7, 2005, official members were appointed and a mission statement, brochure and applicable guidelines were drawn up. Shortly thereafter, the WBC rose up again to disrupt the funeral of a sergeant in Chelsea, Oklahoma. It was at this point that a mission statement was established.

The statement included getting the families' permission, contacting other law enforcement, and communicating with motorcycle groups and veterans in other states. The ultimate goal was to have a group in each state that could respond accordingly to such disruptions without relying on another state to do the job.

The Chelsea undertaking was successful, and the Kansas American Legion Riders wanted all the other motorcycle groups and supporters to be recognized as well. Thus, the Patriot Guard was officially born, with a distinguishable patch and dozens of dedicated riders positioned all over the country.

The Patriot Guard Riders stand by their commitment and strong sense of gratitude and respect. To those serving and fighting for freedom, know that The Patriot Guard Riders appreciate your sacrifice; that they are united with you in patriotism and mutual love for honor and service; and that they are praying for a safe and healthy return home to your family, friends, and loving communities.


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The Story Behind the Purple Heart Riders

The Purple Heart Riders is a family-oriented motorcycle riding association, not a motorcycle club. The members are veterans, wounded in battle, that were awarded the "Purple Heart Medal".

This medal is awarded to members of the United States armed forces, wounded by an instrument of war in enemy hands. It’s specifically a combat decoration.

Al “Scout” Grow and Jerry Dumont created the association in early 2009 after contemplating a way to create a space for veterans to spend time together in a constructive and uplifting manner, combining their Purple Heart status with a love of motorcycle riding.

The idea was well received by Purple Heart recipients, from noncommissioned officers to high-ranking Vietnam-era Special Forces brass.

Their back patch, the logos on the back of riders’ jackets, is the blue-and-gold Purple Heart medal – a striking and solemn symbol.

Members are from all walks of life and professional careers, including active and retired law enforcement, the judiciary, active duty and retired military. Many of the veterans are also members of the "Military Order of the Purple Heart".

The association’s mission is to promote patriotism, serve veterans, serve the community and offer support through camaraderie, forming a brotherhood of combat wounded veterans.

It is a non-profit association, interested in helping all veterans who served the nation, as well as to continue creating a space for fellowship.

The Purple Heart Riders was also accepted for membership into the National Coalition of Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans.

Veterans must meet the following criteria:
- wounded in battle and awarded the “Purple Heart Medal”.
- own a motorcycle, at least 400cc.

Veterans that can’t ride a motorcycle due to medical reasons, are still welcome to join. Age and gender aren’t factors, nor is a wounded veteran’s ability to ride a motorcycle, as long as the person received the Purple Heart, that’s all that matters.

Visit to find out more

Source: Purple Heart Nashua

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The Rolling Thunder Veteran Biking Group

The Rolling Thunder is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 and incorporated in 1995 with a goal to publicize the Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action (POW-MIA) issue.

The founders Artie Muller and Ray Manzo met in 1987 to share their concerns about the Prisoners of War and all the soldiers Missing in Action from the Vietnam War. As war veterans themselves, the issue was something they could relate to and they couldn’t ignore the huge number of their fellow soldiers left behind and declared dead or missing. What bugged them even more is the fact that many POW-MIAs were seen living in captivity but the government and the press have decided to ignore these reports.

Muller and Manzo felt it their duty to do something to raise public awareness about all the people who were left behind and to prevent such things from happening in the future. The first demonstration organized by Artie Muller and Ray Manzo took place in Washington, DC during the Memorial Day weekend in 1988. Organization was spontaneous as the veterans invited their families, fellow veterans, and veteran’s advocates to gather in the capital. The roar of their motorcycles announced their arrival and the sound was similar to the 1965 bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Since the bombing campaign was named Operation Rolling Thunder, the veteran biking group also got the name Rolling Thunder®, Inc.

The Memorial Day weekend protest in 1988 gathered more than 2,500 motorcyclists from all over the US to demand a full accounting of all POW/MIA's. On that day, an annual "Ride for Freedom" was established to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall. The "Ride for Freedom" has more and more supporters every year and the numbers rose from 2,500 to 900,000.

Rolling Thunder®, Inc. is now an established non-profit organization whose members donate their time to raise awareness about all the American POW-MIAs and to help the veterans from all wars.

In order to become a member, you don’t have to be a veteran or even to ride a motorcycle. The organization has over 90 chapters all over the US and it also has members abroad. Members can be both men and women, young and old, with a uniting goal to bring full accountability for the Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action.

The slogan of the organization is: “We Will Not Forget.” And the organization is working on achieving the set goals. Since it was founded, the Rolling Thunder veteran biking group has co- authored and advocated legislation to improve the POW/MIA issue, veterans' benefits, concerns, and interests.

Veteran Biker Patches Show Pride In Past And Present Service

The patches that veteran biker groups proudly display on their jackets, clothes, and bikes are symbols of honor. The veterans honor their past service to their country, they honor fallen service men and women as color guards for funerals, and they serve to keep the public aware of the debt of gratitude that is owed to people who risked their lives fighting for others.

The patch that any individual veteran biker group wears is usually representative of the branch of service that the group served in. Part of the patch may be a replica of a military insignia that has special meaning to the men and women that fought with that group. Many of the patches worn by veteran bikers include their country’s flag as a visual reminder of the values and ideals that these brave men and women fought for.

Some veteran biker groups include symbols that express their collective religious beliefs. Other groups opt for a traditional display that is more readily associated with “outlaw” bikers. Skulls, weapons of allkinds, and symbols that identify a state or a country are common veteran biker patches.

There is a certain etiquette involved with veteran biker patches. One does not allow their colors to touch the ground. This is a symbolic adaptation of the regulation that the flag of any nation cannot touch the ground. The demonstration of personal disrespect for a veteran biker’s patch is considered to be disrespect for their service and is often met with stern consequences.

The history of veteran biker patches combines biker history and military history. Every military unit across the world has a distinctive emblem that identifies their unit and the branch of service they belong to. Biker’s patches identified each member of a biker group.

Veteran biker groups have been honoring other veterans since the early 1920s. The popularity of veteran biker patches grew as the availability of motorcycles became more within the financial range of the common person. Some veteran biker groups number in the thousands.

Veteran biker groups and their special patches are not just a United States phenomenon although the custom and practice did begin in the U. S. Veterans from every country in the world proudly display their patches when they ride as groups or as an individual. Love of country and honoring fellow veterans knows no boundaries of race, country, or faith.

Veteran bikers are a frequent and essential reminder of the sacrifice that others have made to protect the freedoms and rights that everyone enjoys. The patch is an expression of the pride that the people who served a nation have in themselves, their unit, their club, and their country.

The patches are a teaching tool for veteran bikers. The patch shows all people what military service means and reminds them of the debt they owe to the living veteran and to the fallen.