Commander Coin Frequently Asked Questions

Who is authorized to receive a Commander's Coin?

AFI 36-2805, Special Awards and Trophies, authorizes use of appropriated funds (APF) to purchase challenge coins for “On-the-Spot Recognition” and “Appreciation Awards.” This instruction recognizes the importance of recognizing military and civilian personnel who, by dedicated individual effort, facilitate successful mission accomplishment.

Can I give a Commander Coin as a gift or memento?

No. Do not use appropriated funds to purchase gifts/mementos for military members, employees, or private citizens unless specifically authorized by law. Additionally, AFI 36-2805, Special Awards and Trophies, provides that appropriated funds may be used to purchase challenge coins “only to be used to recognize exceptional mission accomplishment.” They “will not be used as mementos or gifts (including going away gifts); nor should they be issued simply for being assigned to an organization.”

Can I personalize the coin?

No. Air Force Instruction 65-01, Volume 1, states: For organizational coins, do not personalize them by stamping the presenter’s name on the coin and the presenter’s name is not to be added after the coin is cast. The coins are to be presented as cast from the die without further embellishment, i.e. presenter’s name engraved. They are organizational coins, not personalized mementos. Use only the organization’s name and the position of the presenter (e.g. Commander 33 FW Eglin AFB, FL). Exception: Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, 4-star general officers and 4-star civilian equivalents.

Are there inventory requirements?

Yes, AFI 36-2805, Special Awards and Trophies, requires coins or similar items purchased for “On-the-Spot Recognition” and “Appreciation Awards” be clearly accounted for and stored independent of office supplies. Local accountable inventory procedures must be established to document purchase, distribution, etc.

Can I recognize a contractor-employee with a coin?

No. The problem is two-fold: first, our regulations only authorize the use of appropriated funds coins to recognize military members and civilian employees. There is no authority to use appropriated funds for either non-appropriated fund employees or non-U.S. Government employees. Second, in the case of contractor employees, they should not normally be recognized as part of a government awards program as such would imply a level of supervision by government officials over these employees.

Can I give a Commander's Coin to foreign military members?

No. Coins purchased with APF cannot be given to foreign military members.

Who is Authorized to Purchase Coins with Government Funds?

The ACC Supplement to AFI 36-2805, provides that Wing, Group and Squadron Commanders, as well as Wing Command Chief Master Sergeants, are authorized use of appropriated funds to purchase awards for their On-the-Spot Recognition and Appreciation Awards Programs.

Can I present a challenge coin for reenlistment?

Yes. To highlight the importance of reenlistment to the Air Force mission and the commitment of the member to that mission, the same military challenge coins used for mission accomplishment awards may be presented to members reenlisting.

Can I purchase a coin with personal funds and present it regardless of the above rules?

Generally, yes. There is no violation if the awarded unit coin is purchased with personal funds. However, the DoD prohibition against recognizing contractor employees is applicable, regardless of the source of funding.

Can I split the purchase between GPC and my personal fundes?

Absolutely! We will create two separate invoices for you. Your government funds can pay for the die charge and a specified quantity of accountable Commander challenge coins. You can then piggyback the order with additional coins, which you would be able to give out more freely.

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