Joint Task Force Katrina Coin Coin Heralds Joint
Task Force Katrina

While the effectiveness of some civil institutions has been called into question following Hurricane Katrina, one thing remains clear: America's military can always be counted on to get the job done.

Over the course of five days, from August 25 to August 29, Hurricane Katrina ripped through America's Gulf Coast, leaving a path of unprecedented destruction in its wake. In the aftermath of the devastating storm, more than 1,000 people lost their lives and millions more found themselves suddenly without shelter. Separated from friends and family and cut off from even the most basic services, many of Katrina's victims watched in horror from their rooftops as the flood waters continued to rise.

Overwhelmed by the demand for emergency services and unable to meet the need for a more immediate and comprehensive response to the disaster, the federal government turned to the men and women of America's Armed Forces for assistance.

On August 31, 2005, the U.S. Northern Command established Joint Task Force Katrina to aid in the coordination and delivery of relief services. The task force was sited at the Army's Camp Shelby, located near the city of Hattiesburg in southern Mississippi.

Responding with trademark efficiency, America's active-duty personnel answered the call, spearheading search and recovery missions, transporting vital resources to the area, and overseeing a full range of complex logistics tasks.

Demonstrating the courage and skill that have made the U.S. military the world's preeminent fighting force, these men and women provided direct aid to the individuals and families most severely affected by the storm.

In honor of the bravery and commitment shown by America's military men and women in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Northwest Territorial Mint, a leading producer of custom coins for the U.S. military for more than twenty years, recently created a unique commemorative coin.

Commenting on the origin of the distinctive Katrina medallion, Gene Frink, Northwest Territorial Mint's longtime liaison with the U.S. Military, said: "We have a long history of creating challenge, unit, and other custom coins for the military, so I wasn't surprised when we were approached by the Navy Exchange Service Command to create something for Joint Task Force Katrina." NEXCOM, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, provides a wide variety of services to support the men and women of the U.S. Navy and their families.

The distinctive and compelling Katrina coin features a montage on its obverse that symbolizes the full scope of the military's contribution to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Inscribed beneath the detailed images are the words: "Rescue, Relief, Recovery." The coin's reverse bears the seals of the Five Branches of the U.S. Military and the seal of the Department of Defense.

The design for the coin was created by artist Justin Ladd of Northwest Territorial Mint and was approved by authorities at NEXCOM on September 23, 2005.

As the lead artist on the project, Ladd worked diligently to create a design that would capture the heroism of the men and women in uniform who skillfully executed the mission Joint Task Force Katrina in the days and weeks following the disaster.

"The design went through a number of changes along the way" said Ladd. "One thing we definitely wanted to emphasize was how well the different branches of the military worked together to help those in need," he added.

Once NEXCOM officially approved Ladd's design, Northwest Territorial Mint's production team faced the challenge of being able to mint, package, and deliver the commemorative Katrina coin according to schedule.

"Without a doubt, they wanted a quick turn-around time on this coin," said Frink. "I'm really proud of everyone on our production team for pulling together to create such a memorable coin for America's military."

The coin saluting the service of Joint Task Force Katrina is currently available for purchase at Northwest Territorial Mint's online store.

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Northwest Territorial Mint: Did You Know?In demanding times, dies were still used even when they became very worn or even when they cracked. The die that was on the anvil side, usually the reverse (back), tended to wear out first. Since the metals that the dies were made out of were not as hard as modern steel, the flans (the blank pieces of metal), needed to be heated prior to striking.