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Northwest Territorial Mint

USN USS Rentz FFG-46 Coin

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For sailors and family of the USS Rentz, carrying this challenge coin will be a stirring reminder of the faith, courage, and sacrifice of the World War II chaplain for whom this Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate is named and the pride of serving on a ship connected to a man of God and a naval hero.

Named for Commander George Snavely Rentz, the USS Rentz (FFG-46) is one of 51 ships of this class built for the US Navy. Stretching 453 feet from bow to stern and measuring 45 feet across, the USS Rentz like the other ships in its class, is designed for a protection of shipping mission, utilizing two SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters, Mk 75 76mm/62 caliber rapid firing gun, MK 32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts), and one Phalanx Close-In Weapons System for short-range defense against aircraft or missiles. Commissioned on June 30, 1984, the USS Rentz boasts a maximum speed of 28 knots and a crew of 17 officers and 198 enlisted.

Commander George S. Rentz was the chaplain of the cruiser USS Houston during two bloody World War II naval battles with the Japanese fleet. As Japanese ordnance blasted at his ship during the Battle of Makassar Strait on February 4, 1942, the fearless chaplain took no cover, inspiring its crew despite an attack that killed 48. In the Houston’s subsequent encounter, when it was destroyed in the Battle of Sunda Strait, Rentz again encouraged its sailors. After the Houston sunk, Rentz relinquished his lifejacket and his space on a barely floating pontoon to survivors in the nearby water, kicking away when no one would accept his offer, never to be seen again. Rentz’s actions were honored posthumously with the Navy Cross, the US Navy’s second highest award for valor, and the only one issued to a chaplain during the Second World War.

This coin honors the USS Rentz and salutes all the courageous men and women who have served this ship in the footsteps of its namesake. The obverse features a detailed rendering of the USS Rentz and a likeness of the fighting chaplain. The reverse bears the ship's crest. The vertical trident represents the Roman god of the sea, Neptune. The crossed missiles indicate the type of ship – “frigate with guided missiles.” The cross on the shield represents Chaplain Rentz. The ship’s motto – “Dread nought” – tells all to have no fear, for higher powers are watching over the vessel.

Minted in a brass alloy and brushed with an antique bronze finish, this coin was struck using special "splash" dies for exceptionally deep relief and beautiful detail.