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10 Gifts for Military Promotions Your Service Member Will Love


Military promotions are earned. Service members are required to have a certain amount of time in grade, time in service, and an attained level of skill in their military occupational specialty.

The first few ranks, regardless of how they are attained, are relatively simple to explain. Graduation from warrant officer or officer candidate school might be needed to make O-1, and graduation from basic training is usually required to be an E-1. As a service member progresses up the ranks, the requirements to earn rank get more rigid and rank is harder to attain.

That makes military promotions something special. If you are the loved one of a military service member, naturally you want to get something special to mark the occasion.

Gifts for military promotions aren’t too hard to buy as long as you go into it knowing what your service member likes or doesn’t like. Clearly your gifts for military promotions can be simple, like taking the person out to dinner or buying them a drink (even though military tradition stipulates that the person getting promoted buys the drinks), but if you prefer getting the person a more traditional military gift. We’ve got some ideas.

Here is USAMM’s list of gifts for military promotions.

Battle Mug

The Battle Mug is a military favorite. This is one of the best gifts for military promotions you can buy. If the recipient belongs to an infantry unit or works in a military profession that carries a rifle, they will love this gift. The Battle Mug is fully customizable. Not only can you put their name, new rank, and unit information on it, or anything else that you think belongs on there, but you can also add a rifle-like handle, railings, and their ribbon rack to it. This isn’t one of those military going away gifts that they will set aside and place on a shelf. This rugged mug will get used regularly and will be a career heirloom for whomever receives it. Your departing friend will likely use this thing a lot at his/her assignment and often think about the times you guys had together.

Alder Plaques

The Alder plaques are unique gifts for military promotions that can capture a service members entire career or just a snapshot of it. In other words, if you have someone who was recently promoted, these are super affordable and really nice. These are great gifts for military promotions because there is plenty of room on the high-quality wood’s surface to include a career’s worth of military awards and badges, or just limit it to awards or badges earned during a specific period, like the period of time a person held a particular rank. Either way, these fully customized Alder plaques are colorful and ideal military going away gifts.

Navy Custom Ship 3D Laser Engraved Plaque

There are a lot of choices for gifts for military promotions for sailors or old sea dogs. One of our favorite gifts for military promotions are the ship 3D laser engraved plaques. They make wonderful gifts for military promotions because the sailor/former sailor can select his/her ship class, name, and hull number, and it will all be custom engraved. These are great for quarters, offices or man cave or she shed.


Shadowboxes will always be incredible gifts for military promotions, but these tend to be presented upon retirement from the U.S. military. This is a go-to gift which obviously can be personalized by adding the individual’s awards, badges, and mementos. They can also be customized by having a brass plaque engraved and placed inside the box which has the recipient’s name and military information on it. To do this right, make sure you work with the service member’s family and the human resources team to ensure all the right medals, badges, ribbons, are included in the shadowbox.

Custom Navy Caps

Caps make great gifts for military promotions because like the 3D laser plaque, they can be customized to the liking of the wearer. They can proudly display the ship of the person who was promoted and the sailors can rock these caps at veteran events and patriotic holidays. Great gifts for military promotions are ones that the recipient can wear.

Custom Rank Hats

Whether the person you are shopping for is enlisted, warrant or commissioned officer, they will love a Custom Rank Hat. These make great gifts for military promotions because they include the person’s name and new rank and they come in multi-cam and coyote colors.

Navy Ship Wrapped Canvas

Customizable Navy ship class wrapped canvas prints are unique gifts for military promotions because they are artwork that will bring color to any room or office. Much like their 3D engraved plaque cousins, the recipient can customize their print to any ship class and hull number. And they cost much less than the plaques, but like the plaques, they are still very affordable for a quality customized product.


Water bottlesmugsflasks, and steins can all be customized and make great gifts. Name, new rank, and other personalized information can be placed on these items and consider including the unit’s emblem.

Custom Canvas

Consider a custom canvas as a type of soft plaque. These come in various colors, including an OCP pattern, and different items and wording can be placed on it to customize it for your service member. These can also make great gifts for military promotions.

Gift Cards

Hard copy gift cards are super easy to give and digital cards are even easier. You can just e-mail them to the lucky recipient and they can use the funds to buy their new rank and make changes to their uniform.

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