2018 World War I Army Medal Designs Reviewed

by Mike Unser on March 27, 2017 · 12 comments

In 2018, the United States Mint will release World War I silver medals in conjunction with silver dollars honoring the centennial of America’s involvement in the war. The medals will celebrate the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. One of them will commemorate the U.S. Army

Recommended Army Silver Medal Designs - Obverse and Reverse

CCAC and CFA recommended Army Silver Medal Designs – Two different obverses and a reverse

Proposed designs for the medals were reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) on March 16 and by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on March 21.

Army Medal Recommendations

For the Amy Silver Medal, the U.S. Mint presented 14 designs for consideration with 6 obverses and 8 reverses (two obverses were repeated for possible adaption as the reverse). The CFA and CCAC recommended two different obverses but saw common ground when it came to the reverse.

CCAC and CFA Recommended Army Silver Medal Obverse Designs

CCAC and CFA Recommended Army Silver Medal Obverse Designs

For the obverse, the CCAC recommended ARM-O-04, which portrays a Doughboy with a 48-star flag behind him, both elements depicted as they were in WWI photographs and posters. The additional inscription of "1918" completes the centennial commemoration date.

The CFA’s obverse preference was ARM-O-06, which depicts a Doughboy cutting through German barbed wire while a second Doughboy aims a rifle in a shattered landscape of broken trees and cratered earth. In the distance, a shell explodes.

Their recommended reverse features the Army emblem, which was in use during World War I.

Recommended Army Silver Medal Reverse Design

Recommended Army Silver Medal Reverse Design

For their selected designs, the CCAC also suggested moving much of the medal’s text from the obverse to the reverse.

Army Medal Design Candidates

All of the Army medal obverse candidates and U.S. Mint descriptions of them follow.

Army Silver Medal Design Candidates - Obverses

Army Silver Medal Design Candidates – Obverses

ARM-O-01 portrays a line of Doughboys charging out of a trench. They are in formation attacking the enemy, while coiled barbed wire is on the ground at their feet.

ARM-O-02 depicts Doughboys engaged in battle by the ruins of a bombed out church. The two soldiers in the foreground are operating a "One Pounder" gun, while a soldier on the left determines coordinates with binoculars.

ARM-O-03 features iconic weaponry and equipment from World War I. The distinctive helmet is shown atop a gas mask. The entrenching tool, bayonet, wire, and pistol represent the manner in which the war was fought, hand-to-hand, in trenches, among coiled barbed wire. Also depicted is the American-made 1903 Springfield rifle, a critical weapon for American soldiers in World War I.

ARM-O-04 portrays a Doughboy with a 48-star flag behind him, both elements depicted as they were in WWI photographs and posters. The additional inscription of "1918" completes the centennial commemoration date.

ARM-O-05 depicts a Doughboy, ready for action. To the right is the United States 48-star flag.

ARM-O-06 shows a Doughboy cutting through German barbed wire while a second Doughboy aims a rifle in a shattered landscape of broken trees and cratered earth. In the distance, a shell explodes.

The Army medal reverse candidates and U.S. Mint descriptions of them follow.

Army Silver Medal Design Candidates - Reverses

Army Silver Medal Design Candidates – Reverses

ARM-R-01 depicts Doughboys engaged in battle by the ruins of a bombed out church. The two soldiers in the foreground are operating a "One Pounder" gun, while a soldier on the left determines coordinates with binoculars. This is a repeat of ARM-O-02, adapted for use as a reverse.

ARM-R-02 features iconic weaponry and equipment from World War I. The distinctive helmet is shown atop a gas mask. The entrenching tool, bayonet, wire, and pistol represent the manner in which the war was fought, hand-to-hand, in trenches, among coiled barbed wire. Also depicted is the American-made 1903 Springfield rifle, a critical weapon for American soldiers in World War I. This is a repeat of ARM-O-03, adapted for use as a reverse.

ARM-R-03 features the current Army emblem, which was in use during World War I.

ARM-R-04 depicts two soldiers cautiously entering a bombed village during the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the largest of the wars, ultimately leading to the Armistice. The additional inscription "MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE" borders the top of the composition.

ARM-R-04A portrays two soldiers advancing cautiously through the bombed, desolate, and dangerous Argonne Forest during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, while the third covers them using a Chauchat machine gun. The additional inscription "MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE" arcs across the top.

ARM-R-05 portrays three soldiers advancing through the bombed, desolate, and dangerous Argonne Forest during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Additional inscriptions include "MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE" and "1918."

ARM-R-07 portrays three soldiers fighting in difficult terrain, representing the hardships they encountered amid trenches and over a variety of landscapes. In the field is the WWI era emblem of the US Army.

ARM-R-08 depicts the WWI-era Army emblem.

2018 World War I Armed Forces Silver Medals

Artists for the U.S. Mint created over 60 design candidates for the five 2018 World War I Armed Forces Silver Medals. The other medals will honor the Navy (see Navy medal designs), Air Service (see Air Service medal designs), Marines (see Marines medal designs) and Coast Guard (see Coast Guard medal designs).

Also, there is the possibility of one more medal as the CCAC asked for a sixth to honor women whom served during the war.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

captainrich March 27, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Is it safe to assume these Armed Forces silver medals will also be struck on the ASE planchets, like the previous Liberty medals and Presidential Chronicle medals?

Seth Riesling March 27, 2017 at 6:06 pm

The CCAC meeting on March 21 was very contentious on the 62 different designs the US Mint presented to the committee. One member who is a lawyer & medallic art specialist said he was very disappointed & could not recommend a single of the 62 designs because they look more like coins than medals. Very nasty stuff going down at these meetings for sure!

-NumisDudeTX

Mike Unser (CoinNews.net) March 27, 2017 at 6:35 pm

@captainrich – Good question… the plan for the medals is create them from the same planchets that are used in striking commemorative 90% silver dollars.

jim March 27, 2017 at 10:21 pm

I myself am getting a little tired of all the war commemorative coins and medals. There is likely nobody left alive who served in the first world war so why are they doing this? I think we’re at the point where 100 year anniversaries are all that’s needed anymore.
At least we’ve got breast cancer awareness, moon landing, and Plymouth 400th anniversary (possibly) coming up to get away from all the war related stuff.

Kahoola March 27, 2017 at 11:48 pm

They commemorate war because there is hardly ever peace. Last century can think of only a couple of decades or more, between invading the Philippines and putting down their liberation armies and the first world war. Then the end of the first world war to the beginning of the second. Otherwise war every few years. There are only two coins i know that celebrate peace, the peace dollar and the Native American dollar great law of peace.

Seth Riesling March 28, 2017 at 10:43 am

kahoola –

You make a really good point. The USA government used to have a Department of War – now the Department of Defense & has never had a Department of Peace! Since the “modern” commemorative coin program began in 1982, we have had at least 28 commemorative coins related to war, military etc. In 1,000 years, if people still exist on this planet, archaeologists will find these USA coins & think we worshiped war!

-NumisDudeTX

jim March 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Yeah – apparently only the Native Americans have positive things to remember/celebrate.

Louis March 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm

It’s a matter of proportion. I have no problem with having some coins that honor the armed forces or major wars, but if you look at what commems we have seen in the past 10 years, there is a disproportionate amount on the military.

What do yo all think of coins to honor the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026? I did an article on this at Coin Update.

Louis March 28, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Also WWI is a good topic since we have not done any coins yet on this major event, but personally I am not too crazy about the art work here. I will wait for the 2018 silver dollar.

Rooster March 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

I look at this as a tribute to those who served and sacrificed for our freedoms as with the military coins of the past. These have made the best gifts to my family and friends who have served. These military “tributes” have brought tears to some of those who received them and that makes me continue this tradition. Keep them coming.

Seth Riesling March 28, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Rooster –

I come from a military family background & also very much appreciate the service & sacrifices of all our USA Armed Services members past & present. I have been a member of USAA since 1999 as a dependent of a former USAF & NSA veteran. But, after this WWI commemorative program in 2018, we have done enough on the topic of war IMHO. Lets look forward & to the past at some new subjects. There are a multitude of interesting subjects to explore on our coins & medals in the future.

-NumisDudeTX

joera March 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Seth, Rooster
I also see the coins as a tribute to those that served and sacrificed for our freedoms. But that could be how it will look after we are all gone and archaeologists find our history in our coins and medals. Maybe someday there will be another “Peace Coin” but the way the world is today that seems impossible.

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