Since brave men first put boats upon the seas, they’ve known the perils and powers of the depths. The greater the journey, the greater the danger – and the revelry in success. To cross the line of the equator was – and is – a grand journey that commands celebration for any traveler on the sea. Celebrate your monumental line-crossing and proclaim your status as a Trusty Shellback of the U.S. Coast Guard with this historical Shellback challenge coin.
In centuries past, acceptance into the Ancient Order of the Deep was not simply achieved by crossing the equator. No. Having made the formidable trip, Slimy Polliwogs had to additionally survive a punishing rite-of-passage ceremony. Neptune – Roman god of the sea – called upon his court to judge Polliwogs, and thus christen those deemed worthy as Sons of Neptune, Trusty Shellbacks.
Today, Neptune continues to hail all voyagers of the sea to his court to prove their worth. Though time has touched the ceremony with a taming hand and molding of customs, the honor still remains. Becoming a Trusty Shellback will eternally be prided for any Coasty who ventures across the line on the globe’s savage seas.
This particular coin is designed to resemble a Shellback medal minted for sailors in 1936 who participated in the largest Crossing the Line ceremony in military history. After several arduous weeks conducting an annual training mission off the coast of Panama, Fleet Commander J.M. Reeves felt his men deserved the opportunity to become Trusty Shellbacks. On May 20, 1936, he sailed his entire fleet of 300,000 across the equator at latitude 81° for all to be initiated into the Ancient Order of the Deep.
Each coin measures 1 1/2 inch (39mm) in diameter.
Officially Licensed Product of the U.S. Coast Guard
This is a surplus NWTM item. Packaging may vary.