10 Meaningful Military Retirement Gifts

10 Meaningful Military Retirement Gifts

Your workplace culture not only determines the quality of your work; it changes you as a person during your time there. The worst environments subtly allow dishonesty, corner-cutting, and hostility towards coworkers. In the end, people there become bitter and needlessly competitive rather than collaborating to secure a higher goal.

That’s why, though it varies by branch, the “workplace culture” in the military is so distinct. It draws the best out of service members because they and their peers work together to secure the safety of others. This culture rewards diligence and courage and weeds out those who have neither. The camaraderie that forms the basis of this unique culture has no parallel, and it spurs troops on to lifelong change and affords them enduring relationships.

While serving affords growth, there comes a time to leave. Military retirements are emotional, filled with memories of a grueling but unprecedently rewarding career. If your loved one is in this phase, you can help them ease into retirement in several ways. To help them remember their time well, get them the perfect meaningful military retirement gift. For some gift-giving tips split up by military branch, read this helpful guide.

Air Force

First up is advice on gifts for the Air Force retiree in your life. Not all Air Force veterans pilot planes—fewer do today than ever due to unmanned flying technology—but everyone involved plays an integral role in this branch’s success. Whether your friend or family member flew an F-16 Fighting Falcon, served as an air traffic controller, or worked in cyber systems, these Air Force retirement gifts fit the bill.

A Model Plane

There is no more recognizable symbol for the entire branch than a sleek, powerful fighter jet or bomber. If they’re a pilot, getting them a model of the plane they flew is a no-brainer. Through this tangible piece, they can better connect back to the hundreds of hours they spent in the cockpit flying through the air. Flying, though intense, is also a really magical experience, and this is the sort of memory they’ll want to hold on to through this kind of gift.

As you look for models, go for a metallic replica if you want a genuine reproduction. If you have a hunch that they would appreciate a warm-toned wood-based model, go that route instead.

A Bomber Jacket

Though this gift is also specific to pilots, who in the Air Force hasn’t dreamt of putting on a dapper bomber jacket and climbing into the cockpit? Even apart from the connection with flying a plane, they’re just plain sleek. The fact that they’ll feel like Goose and Maverick from Top Gun is a nice cherry on top.

Because every gift is better when personalized, affix patches to the jacket before presenting it to them. Make their military rank and name prominent, affixing the Air Force insignia, American flag, and other symbols on the sleeves.


Veterans of the Army have equally distinct gift possibilities. The definitive Army Green alone sets off a dozen associations with their time in uniform. Active-duty combat soldiers, technical engineers, and those in the Army Medical Civilian Corps would all enjoy these gifts.

An Ammo Can

A deep Army Green ammo can is the epitome of retro. These aren’t outrageously pricy, but you can emblazon your loved one’s name and rank on these cans for everyone to see. They can use it for simple storage or as décor. No matter what they do, seeing their name in Arial 12 font helps them retain a sense of oneness with their Army past.

Army Décor

Another idea is to get them Army décor. The yellow and black Army symbol is ideal for a simple framed hanging. Going back in time for the Army history buff, pick up some classic war-time posters to adorn their walls. Think the iconic “I Want You” Uncle Sam posters. These are excellent conversation starters for retirees excited to entertain guests. Just think—these décor pieces could set the stage for an unforgettable Army reunion when others they served with visit.


Next up, Navy gifts. A Navy man or woman could operate a large naval vessel, design or fly planes, work on submarines, or even contribute as a logistician. These jobs vary widely, even relative to other branches, and so can your gifts.

A Commemorative Plaque

Plaques are solid and beautiful representations of someone’s time in the Navy. With heartfelt words of thanks included, military appreciation plaques made from the finest crystal are eye-catching and memorable pieces a veteran will love. Plus, they are abundantly customizable, making them ready to fit whatever message or design you want.

A Military Rank Display

Also, you can craft your own military rank display which chronicles your loved one’s journey through different roles and posts during their time. These pieces of décor tell the story of their path through service, one rife with both troubles and triumphs. To go along with this piece, give memorabilia from each locale they were stationed at to further recall memories to their mind.


A retiring marine likely has plenty of pride in his or her branch of the military. While these following gift ideas work well, you can’t go wrong with anything with the Semper Fi (or Semper Fidelis) slogan, meaning “always faithful.” Here are some meaningful military retirement gifts for the Marine transitioning into civilian life.

Military History Books or Memoirs

Representatives from all branches would appreciate books about military life, but you can also tailor your memoirs to Marine veterans. Tales of others’ experiences in uniform help keep retirees connected to their branch. In addition, for those with a penchant for writing, your gift could encourage them to detail their own experiences.

Commemorative Playing Cards

The Marine logo goes well on anything. That includes a fancy set of playing cards for your game-loving veteran. These are another quality conversation item, especially when playing cards with old Marine friends. With so many memories as a Marine, high-quality cards with a special case give you a medium to make even more memories in the future.

Coast Guard

The final branch, the Coast Guard, is usually at home on the water, similar to the Navy. To celebrate the retiree who spent decades protecting U.S. shores, consider these gifts.

A Boat in a Bottle

Similar to a model plane, a decorative boat gift allows service people to reflect on life on or near the water. If they trained on a sailing barque, a full-sail replica pleasantly reminds them of their roots as they leave the profession.

A Decanter Set

Otherwise, supply them with a specialty decanter set so their drinking is never dull. This helps them share another activity with others while making their time on the Coast Guard central. You can find them with the dual-anchor Coast Guard symbol and other related imagery.

If you need further help finding the perfect gift, look to Crystal Central. We create the best hand-crafted crystal plaques dedicated to anniversaries, graduations, and even thank-you plaques to fit other purposes.

10 Meaningful Military Retirement Gifts

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