Obverse Design

The center of the challenge coin has an inner circle with a braided rim. This inner circle has a figure that may represent a person on drugs, with a semi-circle of dots around their head and holding their stomach. The figure is colored yellow. The inner circle is divided into top and bottom halves. The bottom half is colored green and has what probably represents the shadow of the figure, colored yellow. The top half is divided into five regions each a different color. From left to right the regions are colored blue, yellow, white, read and green.

A legend curving along the upper edge of the coin says "JOINT INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE". The legend along the bottom edge of the coin says "SOUTH". These legends have a background colored light blue. They are enclosed by a braided rim. Beyond the braided rim is the edge of the coin with another rim. This outer rim is raised and smooth, but varies in height with equal length segment that go up and down resulting in peaks and valleys around the edge of the coin. This type of rim is known as a "Flat Diamond cut edge."

Reverse Design

In the center of the coin is an inner circle with a plain rim around it. The inner circle has a shield crest surrounded by the flags of the United States and its international partners. The shield has a light blue background. It is divided by a black banner with the words "UNITED STATES" and "SOUTHERN COMMAND" in two lines and very small letters. Above the banner is an eagle with spread wings holding two branches, with arrows coming from its feet. The eagle is colored brown with a white head. Below the banner is a map of Central and South America colored white with a yellow star off to the right. Above the shield is the map of Ecuador colored yellow, blue, red and white. Next to the right is the map of Panama in red, white and blue. Continuing down on the right is the map of Peru in red and white. Next is the map of the United States in red, white and blue. At the bottom right is the map of Venezuela in yellow, blue and red. At the bottom left is the map of Argentina in blue, white and yellow. Contining clockwise and going up on the left the next map is that of Bolivia in red, yellow, green and white. Next is the map of Brazil in green, yellow and blue. On the upper left is the map of Columbia in yellow, blue and red.

The legend along the upper edge of the coin says "HOWARD AIR FORCE BASE". The legend along the bottom edge of the coin says "11 JUNE 1997-1 MAY 1999" which was the period of operations commemorated at the closure ceremony. The reverse has the same style rim as the obverse which is raised and smooth but goes up and down resulting in peaks and valleys. This type of rim is known as a "Flat Diamond cut edge."

Metal Unknown metal. Weight Unknown. Size and Shape Round, 50 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued Probably May 1, 1999.
Issuer Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South.
Mintage Unknown.
Rarity Scarce. Manufacturer Unknown. Source Plowman collection.
Varieties None known.
Historical Note Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-South) was located at the Joint AIr Operations Center at Howard Air Force Base in Panama. JIATF-South at Panama was the primary interagency coordinating center for detection, monitoring and tracking of suspected drug trafficking events in the source zone of South America. Once JIATF-South detected a probable drug smuggling aircraft, it relayed tracking information to other nations or to JIATF-East for further tracking and interception. The JIATF-South mission came to an end from Panama May 1, 1999 with a closure ceremony where the unit was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for their outstanding contributions to the counterdrug operations in Panama and South America from June 11, 1997 through May 1, 1999. During that period JIATF-South supported international partners that led to substantial disruption of the illegal narco-industry in the region. As a result of JIATF-South support, during those 23 months participating nation drug law enforcement and security forces seized 145 metric tons of cocaine, hundreds of narcotraffickers have been arrested, and 38 drug planes were destroyed, forced down, or seized on the ground. The JIATF-South mission transferred to JIATF-East in Key West, Fla.