Obverse Design

Coin has a small Ranger insignia in the lower half of the medal. The Ranger insignia is a shield with four cantons. A lightning bolt goes from the upper right canton to the lower left canton. These two cantons have a green background. The upper left canton has a 12 pointed star on a blue background. The lower right canton has a five pointed star on a blue background. Each star is white with bronze edges and has a silver dot in the center. The 12 pointed star is the Sun symbol from the Chinese Nationalist Flag and represents the unit's close cooperation with the Chinese forces in the China-Burma-India Theater. The five-point star represents the Star of Burma. The lightning bolt is symbolic of behind-the-lines strikes, a specialty of the Rangers. Below the shield is a white banner with curled ends. In bronze letters it says "SUA SPONTE". This Ranger motto means "of their own accord" and refers to the fact that the Rangers were started and continue to be an all-volunteer outfit.

Along the upper edge of the coin it says "FOR EXCELENCE IN TRAINING". Below that are two banners very similar to those on the reverse. The upper banner simply says "RANGER". The lower banner says "3D RANGER BN". Below these banners and above the shield in small font are two dates. The top data line says "21 MAY 1943". This is the date the original 3rd Ranger battalion was activated. The lower date line says "3 OCTOBER 1984". This is the date that the 3rd Battalion was reactivated. On each side of center are a list of three locations where the 3rd Battalion fought (for a total of six locations). To our left are "LICATA", "MAJORA" and "ANZIO" in three lines. To our right are "CISTERNA", "PANAMA" and "SOMALIA" The coin has a smooth plain raised edge, and a plain and smooth background.

Reverse Design

The center of the medal has a small scroll partially unrolled, with a rod through the rolled up portion at the top. This is where the name of the receipient can be engraved (in small letters). Above the scroll near the top of the coin are two banners. The upper banner simply says "RANGER". The lower banner says "3D RANGER BN". Below the banners and above the scroll are two lines. The upper line says "OCTOBER 3, 1984" and the lower line says "FT. BENNING, GA". This is the date and location where the 3rd Battalion was reactivated.

To the right of the scroll are two design features and to the left are two design features. To our upper left, the design feature is a parachute with feathered wings on it. Above the parachute is a small five-point star in a wreath of feathered wings. This is the badge of a Master Parachutist. To our lower left is something that looks like a rounded triangle with a small circle in it. This is actually an antique diver's helmet and is the SCUBA Diver badge. To our upper right is a rifle inside a box, with a wreath behind the box. This is the Combat Infantryman badge. To our lower right is a torch with one feathered wing on it. This is the Pathfinder badge.

Below the scroll is a line with the date May 21, 1943. This is the date the 3rd Battalion of Rangers (part of a group known as Darbys Ranger) was activated at vic Nemours, Morocco in North Africa. Next are two lines of locations which say "LICATA . MAJORA" and "ANZIO . CISTERNA". These were locations where the 3rd Battalion fought in World War II. Along the bottom edge of the medal is the legend "RANGERS LEAD THE WAY". The coin has a smooth plain raised edge, and a plain and smooth background.

Metal Brown, with a bronze or copper finish. Weight Unknown. Size and Shape Round, 39 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued Unknown, after Just Cause Operation December 1989 and by 2001.
Issuer 3rd Ranger Battalion.
Mintage Unknown.
Rarity Common. Manufacturer Ira Green Company, per Military Honors. Source Plowman Collection.
Varieties There are several varieties of 3rd Ranger Battalion challenge coins. Some of them have reverse sides identical or very similar to this one, but this obverse design is quite different than that of the other challenge coins.
Design Note

This medal appears to be a manufactured from two dies that were not originally intended to go together. The reverse appears to be the made using the CH-3.02 reverse die, and just not colored. That the obverse was not intended to go with that reverse can be seen in the duplication of design elements. The "RANGER" and "3D RANGER BN" banners are on both sides, slightly different from each other. The obverse names the same four combat locations as the reverse plus two more. Both activation dates appear on both sides of the coin but using different date formats. If there is a reverse intended to go with this obverse, I have not seen it as yet. It may be that the existing reverse die was used with a new obverse die to save some money when the medals were ordered.

Population Count As of January 27, 2006 these are still being offered by at www.eaglesofwar.com for $10.00. They are also readily available on eBay.
Historical Note

A and B Companies, 3rd Battalion and the 2nd Ranger Battalion performed a combat parachute assault on the Panamanian military base at Rio Hato starting about 1 AM the morning of December 20th, 1989 as part of Operation Just Cause. They were known as Task Force Red - Romeo. They took the runway in 30 minutes, and spirited defense by the PDF ended within two hours. The Ranger killed 34 Panamanians and wounded an undetermined number. They captured 362 PDF soldiers. The Rangers lost four soldiers, and suffered 18 wounded in the fight and 26 injuried in the drop. Killed in action from the 3rd Battalion were Staff Sergeant Larry Barnard and PFC Roy Dennis Brown, Jr.

C Company, 3rd Battalion and the 1st Ranger Battalion performed a combat parachute assault on Torrijos/Tocumen air fields during the night of December 19th and early morning of December 20th, 1989 as part of Operation Just Cause. They were known as Task Force Red - Tango. By 2:10 AM on the morning of the 20th the Rangers were successful in eliminating PDF resistance at the airport complex. They suffered a handful of casualties including one fatality.