Since 1998, each commissioned lieutenant and each cadre member plus distinguished individuals have been presented a commemorative coin. BYU Army ROTC includes the cadets and cadre of Utah Valley University, Southern Utah University, Dixie State College, and Brigham Young University.
On one side of the coin is the Army ROTC shield, signifying our overall mission of national defense. The shield is colored in the Army gold and black, with a lamp indicating pursuit of knowledge, a helmet indicating a warrior leader, a sword indicating courage and gallantry, and the ROTC motto “LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE,” representing the moral responsibility each officer has to this nation. Around the outside of the coin is the Cougar Battalion motto “Service First,” the obligation each Cougar Battalion member has to God, country, family, and others.
On the other side of the coin are certain symbols representing the BYU Cougar Battalion. The blue is part of the school colors royal blue and white. The three universities names that make up the Cougar Battalion circle the stretch Y of Brigham Young University and the mascots for Utah Valley University and Southern Valley University.
The Coin Tradition
Most Army units mint a coin that represents their Unit. The unit crest and motto are commonly engraved to serve as a reminder of the unit and the honor of serving therein.
Depending on the unit, the coins are given to all assigned members and/or presented to distinguished military and civilian personnel who perform direct missions or tasks in support of the unit. Sometimes only certain individuals are singled out for the Unit Coin. The intent is to honor the past, those who brought distinct credit to the unit, and those who uphold that same pride and distinction today. The coin is to be readily available, especially at functions where it is customary to drink toasts to the unit, its soldiers and its memory.
Soldiers consider holding a coin an honor. Any individual possessing a coin can issue a challenge to another individual he or she believes received a similar coin. If the individual has received the coin, but cannot produce it, the individual must buy the challenger a drink. This can also include drinks for all present who wish to participate in a toast to the unit. However, if the challenged individual produces the coin, then the challenger has the honor of purchasing the drinks for all present. In certain group settings, those who have coins will not be required to buy, while those who have failed to bring their coins will buy for all present. Intent is for the challenge to happen only once in each setting.
It is wise to be careful when presenting a challenge and to have a good memory. Most, who have had to purchase drinks, will make an effort to return the favor at some future occasion.