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Wrap It Up & Tie It With a Bow

May 12, 2017, 09:49 AM
Often times people, especially family, want to commemorate their service member's graduation with a little something special, but what is that something special? 

Having attended a couple of military graduations and attending them for my brother and husband, here is a short list of some ideas that you might want to consider:

1. One of the things I'd recommend above all others is something from the service member's new MOS (military occupational speciality) or branch. Though thousands of Soldiers with a variety of branch assignments are trained at Fort Leonard Wood each year, FLW is home to the Military Police Corps, the Engineer Corps, and the Chemical (CBRNE) Corps. Each of these branches has a gift shop at the on-post museum and they offer great gift ideas. You could call them ahead of time and some of them even offer an online ordering option, if you want to purchase a gift before heading to graduation. Definitely worth checking out!

2. Many Soldiers will be moving on to their new duty station quickly, so gift cards are always appreciated. Whether they're for restaurants or retail stores, they can come in handy as your service member prepares to make their way through their first PCS (permanent change of station).

3. A special coin holder. Throughout your service member's career, he or she will probably collect a few coins. These are presented by senior ranking NCOs (non-commissioned officers) and officers to recognize outstanding effort or major accomplishments. A coin holder is often overlooked, but provides your service member with a nice way to display his or her collection.

4. A great watch is always an appreciated gift. Being on time in the military is obviously incredibly important and this could help set your service member on the path to success. Try to find one that is durable and water proof because no two days in the military are ever the same and you never know what your day will entail.

5. This recommendation might not be for everyone, but if your service member has a family and they'll be moving to a new duty station after graduation this might be for you. Amazon just announced their newest Echo device that provides video calling capabilities and looks like a great way to keep in touch. Though many of us use our phones or tablets for this kind of thing, this looks to be more of a blend of tablet and laptop...it's also great for those who want to channel their inner George Jetson. My husband has been deployed twice and has spent about 1-2 years total time on temporary duty assignments and my brother has been deployed three times and is currently completing a one year unaccompanied assignment. From personal experience, I can tell you that any device that allows you to video chat is greatly appreciated by military members and their families! Even if you aren't an Echo fan, consider a gift that helps your service member keep in touch with his or her family.

Remember, gifts aren't required at graduation. Simply being there with your service member and enjoying quality time can be more than enough! We hope you'll take lots of pictures, enjoy a nice meal, and let your service member know how proud you are of him or her. Enjoy your time and please pass along our CONGRATULATIONS!
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