Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My New Coin

The La Fayette Escadrille was a French fighter squadron defending that besieged country in 1916. It was an experimental unit, made up of French commanders, French airplanes, French ground support, and American pilots. A wealthy American lieutenant had coins made for his fellow pilots, each coin contained the squadron's symbol. One pilot was shot down on the east side of the western front and was captured and relieved of all identification by the Germans except for that one coin. He escaped in the night and made it back to the Allied side of No Man's Land and was captured by the French as a spy, until they saw his coin and realized he was un pilote Américain.

This started an Air Force tradition of carrying a "challenge coin" where if you arrive at a (generally unofficial) Air Force function someone could challenge you for your coin. If you couldn't produce your coin the drink is on you, but if you could provide your coin, the drink is on them. Needless to say, carrying your "Challenge Coin" is an Air Force tradition, and it has spread to all other branches of the armed forces, and other groups where people gather to do things as a group such as police forces, fire departments, and biker gangs. And churches mentored by retired military folks too.

I have coins from different units and different functions. My collection contains a USAF coin, a 5th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) coin, an 80th Fighter Squadron (Juvats!!!) coin, several 429th Electronic Combat Squadron coins, one for Operation Southern Watch and one for Operation Provide Comfort. I would like one for the 81st TFS Wild Weasels (I was a weasel feeder before weasels were cool (again)) and a Buff Stuffer coin to add to my collection, but looking through the coin rack at Buckley AFB I found this one. 

I know I've read Psalm 144 before but verse one clicked in my head as I looked over this beautiful coin:
1 Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle (Psalm 144:1)
I knew immediately what war we are training us for:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
There are plenty of challenge coins admonishing us to put on the full armor of God, and these can be found in many military exchanges (probably against the protestations of the freedom from religion foundation). As any NCO can tell you, you can dress anyone up with a belt, breastplate, boots, shield, sword and helmet, but can they survive an attack without training? 

Isn't that what our local churches are for? to provide the training we need to survive an onslaught from the forces of wickedness? More and more establishments that call themselves churches are little more than recreation centers dispensing Amway style personal motivational speeches. Your brothers and sisters need to be trained up to use their defensive gear (yes, the full armor of God is defensive in nature, even the sword) and the defensive tactic we need is a warskill called Apologetics. 

I'll be carrying this coin to WeaponsFest '19 where lots of veteran USAF weapons folks (and a few ammo troops (you rock if you know the difference)) will gather in Denver to rehash tales of glory and days gone by. Quite a few are brother and sister Christians because like me, quite a few of these folks realize we survived what we survived only through the Grace of God and are forever in His service
1 Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle;
2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.
3 O Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him?
4 Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.
5 Bow Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.
6 Flash forth lightning and scatter them; Send out Your arrows and confuse them.
7 Stretch forth Your hand from on high; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, Out of the hand of aliens
8 Whose mouths speak deceit, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
9 I will sing a new song to You, O God; Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,
10 Who gives salvation to kings, Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.
11 Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens, Whose mouth speaks deceit And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
12 Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;
13 Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce, And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
14 Let our cattle bear Without mishap and without loss, Let there be no outcry in our streets!
15 How blessed are the people who are so situated; How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!
(Psalm 144)


  1. I've always wondered what that "challenge coin" thing was about. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  2. That's a great story. And it's odd ... I spent 10 years in the Air Force and never once heard about a challenge coin. My loss.

    So true that our purpose is to "train for war" and so sad that we're not often doing it.