Commissioning Gifts

Non Ducor Duco

I am not led, I lead
5-Year Member
Mar 6, 2012
I have a mentor who will be commissioning into the Air Force this May. Her mentorship has meant a lot to me and I really want to get her a meaningful gift that is not too expensive. I'm really looking for ideas on an appropriate gift for a cadet to give to a brand new Lt. I have thought about a customized challenge coin, but I don't know how appropriate that is.
I think my wife picked up a challenge coin for our DS who commissions this May, along with other things. Since she's in the Air Force, maybe some golf balls? :D
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Sounds old fashion but consider a stationary set or a nice pen. My DD is AD AF overseas and loves writing and receiving mail. If your mentor is that type of person then an engraved pen would be a nice gift and in your budget.

Since she's in the Air Force, maybe some golf balls? :D
I don't care who you are that is funny!!!
Another gift one might consider is a flag flown over the Capitol. Youi can do this by going to your favorite MOC's web site. The flags themselves are fairly inexpensive. I think a 3 x 5, which I would recommend, runs $24. You can order one pre-flown (no specific date) or one that is flown on a specific date, say the day of their commissioning. It can take up to 6 weeks for delivery though. You could optionally couple it with a display case. The reason I recommend the 3 x 5 is that I could not find a display case specifically meant for a 5 x 8 flag, which is the other choice offered, although with some false folding you can fit the 5 x 8 nicely into a 5 x 9.5 display case... or so they tell me.
Use the search function. There's an old thread on this topic that might help you out.
What is their AFSC? I am not someone that is hot on the challenge coin. The main reason why is if they are going rated they will need to carry their squadron coin. By the time they leave the AF they will have a ton of coins.

Have you thought of downloading a det picture and framing that? Especially if there is a unique picture, for example, at our DS unit they have a seniors graduation military ball. Many parents attend the ball take a picture of them with the folks. They typically bring out all the 400s and announce their assignments, so you could also take a picture of all of them together. It can be the start of their I love me wall.

One other to think about is some nice cigars with an AF zippo lighter. Smoking cigars still occur in the AF, usually during the squadron outings, formal functions and naming ceremonies.

OBTW DS did get golf balls with the USAF logo from my Mom and she also ball bought him the monogrammer for him with his initials to use in the future on new golf balls. It was one of his favorite gifts and he still uses it to this day.

As for the flag, we did it for our DS. if you go down that path check with his folks to see if they are going to do it.
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SHE is going into cyber and is not much for golfing or cigars, though the flag is an interesting idea.

Use the search function. There's an old thread on this topic that might help you out.

And I've seen old threads on this, but the suggestions were geared towards parents giving gifts to their kids. I think what a parent gives their child is very different from what is appropriate for a cadet to give a new Lt.

Edit: I guess the main question I have is, is it appropriate for a cadet to give a commissionee a coin? I've heard that it may not be, I've only heard it from this board mind you, but I want to check before I go and purchase something.
So if parents are looking at an Army Officers Saber is it a waste. And what are the details... where to buy I did a search and see things from amazon to specialty stores. A certain length, engrave or not. And if engrave would it hinder use or will it get use?
Or is money toward uniforms a better option. DS is not real sentimental I don't think, at least he don't want to show it... heck I have no idea any more... so many changes???
And I will probably tell family members challenge coin, that he will never find again, maybe flag and some cigars and a lighter as I am sure they will light a smoke Commissioning day.
And if I bought this Army man golf balls..... well I may see them again :)
No idea on an Army Saber. Marine Corps it is required for Officers. For family and close friends, money for uniforms are always very much appreciated for new officers. Not sure about Army, but in the Marine Corps I was able to pick out certain pieces of uniform items such as a cover or insignia box. This allowed folks to buy uniform items I very much needed and they knew exactly what they were getting me. Not sure how much "stuff" your DS has, but gift cards to set up a new house are also great things.

Since the OP asked about a mentor gift... USMCGrunt had some great suggestions. Leave it to the Marines to mention items for alcohol! :)
Ha! Truth be told, I was going to say a nice bourbon and some cigars and the primary "gift" is sharing them together!
A small engraved box - wood or silver plate - to keep uniform rank insignia, pins, shirt studs, cuff links, outerwear devices, etc. in. I still have the one presented to me in the last century by my 3 uncles who were WWII battleship sailors. Things Remembered store has things like that.
Decanter and some high ball glasses.
Air Force crest carving/ plaque
Desktop name bar/
Lol, I didn't even think of alcohol since I only just turned 21 myself, but a nice bottle of liquor and some glasses would probably be much appreciated.

Capt MJ,

I will look into the engraved box.

Thank you all for the suggestions.
Bullet still has his box also. It is a little smaller than a shoe box. When he retired he had a shadow box made and mounted all of his coins, scarves , patches and rank that he kept in the box over the years.
~ The only rank he bought new for it was his butter bars. He kept those aside to give to our DS when he commissioned.

I would go to Things remembered for engraved items. I think since your mentor is female she probably would like an engraved item a lot to decorate her new home.