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How to Build a Military Shadow Box: A Complete Guide

Some people are good with their hands and some can barely use a screwdriver. There are those who are more comfortable than others when it comes to creating crafts or building projects from scratch. They can visualize raw materials and turn them into something special.

For those who are not-so-skilled in the woodworking vocations, luckily the internet is packed with lots of friendly how-to videos and plenty of articles to show you how to build a military shadow box. The primary tool you need is patience and ensure to bring that military-grade attention to detail because working with wood can be rewarding, but equally frustrating if the woodshop is not your second home.

How to Build a Military Shadow Box: Step 1
The first thing you need to do is determine what type of wood you’re going to use. Shadow boxes are usually made with cherry, mahogany, maple, oak, walnut, pine, and other types of woods, but lately individuals constructing their own shadow boxes have also turned to reclaimed wood. Old doors, barn walls, porch planks, wood floors, you name it, can all be repurposed and used in building a shadow box.

How to Build a Military Shadow Box: Step 2
Once you’ve figured out the kind of wood you need, you will need to determine what type of glass you want to use. You can use glass, acrylic, and even polycarbonates or any other lucid material that you prefer. You also have to decide if you want clear glass, tempered, smoked, non-glare. These can usually be purchased at home improvement stores and you can cut them to size. Pay careful attention to the thickness you purchase. Like wood, glass can also be repurposed and using reclaimed glass adds a touch of romanticism to the project, especially if you know the history behind the reclaimed items.

How to Build a Military Shadow Box: Step 3
As a short cut, some do-it-yourselfers have used a picture frame as a door for their shadow box. Essentially, they find a frame they like and they build a box behind the frame, attaching the frame with hinges to the box. The key here is to find a frame you like, in the dimensions you need, in the wood grain that fits your taste. This is probably the simplest way to answer the question, how to build a military shadow box.

How to Build a Military Shadow Box: Step 4
Once you’ve determined the kind of wood and glass you’d like to use, and the materials needed to assemble the box (wood glue, nails, screws, etc.), you need to determine what type of tools you will need. The average person doesn’t have a great woodworking setup in their homes, but that does not mean that you still can’t do it yourself. The typical shadow box can be constructed with handheld tools like a saw, hammer, tape measure and drill.

Remember those videos and articles about how to make a shadow box mentioned earlier in this article? Well, most of those will list the materials you need in order to tackle your shadow box project. The tools and raw materials will likely be shared with you, so can piece together what you think you need in order to make a shadow box.

If you find that you lack the tools needed to make a shadow box, consider renting some from the local home improvement store. Military base hobby shops are a great place to work with borrowed tools as well. In addition, some home improvement stores and craft shops have free workshops where you can sign up and build items using their tools. If all else fails, you can always buy the tools and add them to your toolbox.

The main thing to remember when you ask yourself how to build a military shadow box is that the box will hold many of the priceless items that you hold near and dear, many that were hard-earned like Ranger tabs, combat action awards and badges, and certain medals for work you’re proud that you performed. You want to house your military memories in something that you can be proud of.

So, use an internet search engine and ask the question how to make a shadow box. If you find that the project is overwhelming or that you will be punching above your weight class as a craftsperson by trying to make a shadow box, then you should reach out to the professionals at USAMM and order a shadow box.

How to Build a Military Shadow Box: Step 5
Ordering a shadow box from USAMM is much easier than building your own and they can also fill it with all of the medals, patches and insignia that you’ve earned. How to build a military shadow box is an easy question to answer. The steps, materials and tools needed can be looked up anywhere on the web, but if you are asking that question, maybe it is best to leave that task to the professionals.

Boot Camp Graduation Gifts: Five Ideas For Their Special Day

Boot camp, basic combat training, BMT; the entry level training that all new military recruits endure when they join the U.S. Armed Forces is referred to differently depending on the branch of service, but everyone joining the U.S. military must endure the rite of passage and attend some type of basic training.

Basic training for every branch of service is different and varies in difficulty, but when its over all participants are happy about their accomplishment and a great way to show them that you’re proud of their achievement is to purchase boot camp graduation gifts. If you do not have a lot of military experience or you’re unsure of what to buy, let us help you with our short list of ideas for boot camp graduation gifts.

Subscriptions
Subscriptions used to be hard to manage, but thanks to technology, anyone can read, watch and play games from their personal devices.

Subscriptions make great boot camp graduation gifts because hard copy magazines are fading into history and most, if not all, magazines are available in a digital format with a subscription. If your newly minted Soldier, Airman, Marine, Sailor, or Guardian isn’t really into periodicals, then maybe a subscription to a popular streaming channel might be a great gift. If the new service member in your life is a gamer, there are plenty of membership subscriptions that will satisfy their gaming fixes and also make great boot camp graduation gifts.

Gift Cards
Gift cards make great boot camp graduation gifts because they give the recipient complete freedom to purchase what they want. Gift cards can be used in a variety of ways to shop for uniform items, including ribbon racks, or service pride items, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong with gift cards as boot camp graduation gifts, especially when you can send them virtually via e-mail or drop them in the mail as a traditional plastic card.

Books
If the basic trainee graduate in your life loves to read, then good boot camp graduation gifts are books. If the graduates have reading devices, you can simply digitally purchase a book for them and they are sent a link to download their book. You can also buy them a credit on a particular e-book platform and they can download a book of their choice if you don’t want to be deal with shipping something.

If your young troop knows where they are headed after graduation, then consider hard copy books and even audio books for them to listen to. These formats make great boot camp graduation gifts for those who are book fans.

Military Gifts
Some great boot camp graduation gifts are things like shadow boxes, coin racks, and flag cases. Even though graduates are new to the military, these are great boot camp graduation gifts because they can keep them ready and use them once they start receiving awards, coins or other tokens of military service. They will own a way a showcase their tokens. These are always awesome boot camp graduation gifts.

Service Pride
Things like hoodies, t-shirts, and hats all make great boot camp graduation gifts. It’s a nice way for that special basic trainee in your life to show their pride while keeping warm and looking sharp.

Whatever boot camp graduation gifts you decide to buy, shopping and shipping early is always smart to ensure your trainee knows you are thinking about them as they complete their training.

Gifts for Veterans: The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are closing in fast and if you have a former service member in your life, you might be looking for gifts for veterans that will show them how much you care about them and show them the pride you have in their service.  

The key to buying great gifts for veterans is to truly think about who they are and what they like. If that still doesn’t do the trick to help you find great gifts for veterans in your life, then try this short list to find the perfect gift for the veterans in your life and be sure to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials.

Subscriptions
Subscriptions used to be hard to manage, but thanks to technology, anyone can read, watch and play games from their personal devices.

Subscriptions are great gifts for veterans because hard copy magazines are fading into history and most, if not all, magazines are available in a digital format with a subscription. If your veteran isn’t really into periodicals, then maybe a subscription to a popular streaming channel might be a great gift. If the veteran in your life is a gamer, there are plenty of membership subscriptions that will satisfy their gaming fix.

Gift Cards
Gift cards make great gifts for veterans because they give the recipient complete freedom to purchase what they want. Gift cards can be used in a variety of ways to shop for uniform items, including ribbon racks, or service pride items, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong with gift cards as gifts for veterans, especially when you can send them virtually via e-mail or mail them as a traditional plastic card.

Veteran Pride
Veteran vests, t-shirts, and hats all make great gifts for veterans. It’s a nice way for that special veteran in your life to show their pride while keeping warm and looking sharp. Theater hats take a step up and allow them to show their OEF or OIF pride.

Books
If the veteran in your life loves to read, then great gifts for veterans are books. If they have reading devices, you can simply purchase a book for them and they are sent a link to download their book. You can also buy them a credit on a particular e-book platform and they can download a book of their choice if you don’t want to be deal with shipping something.

Hard copy books and audio books for them to listen to as they work out or drive to work make great gifts for veterans who are book fans.

Military Gifts
If you’re shopping for a seasoned veteran in your life, then odds are great that your veteran’s career has allowed them to collect a lot of coins, awards and trinkets from their many years of service. Items like shadow boxes, coin racks, and flag cases are wonderful gifts for veterans who have amassed items that reflect their military service. Your veteran might be so busy that they’ve likely not had the time to organize those items in a way that they can be properly showcased. These are awesome gifts for veterans with a few years of service under their belt.

Whatever gifts for veterans you decide to buy, shopping and shipping early is always smart to ensure your veteran knows you are thinking about them during the holidays. Remember, take advantage of those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to not only get a great gift, but to save your hard-earned cash.

Gifts for Airmen: The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are closing in fast and if you have a U.S. airman in your life, you might be looking for gifts for airmen that will show them how much you care about them and show them the pride you have in their service.  

The key to buying great gifts for airmen is to truly think about who they are and what they like. If that still doesn’t do the trick to help you find great gifts for airmen in your life, then try this short list to find the perfect gift for the airmen in your life and be sure to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials.

Subscriptions
Subscriptions used to be hard to manage, but thanks to technology, anyone can read, watch and play games from their personal devices.

Subscriptions are great gifts for airmen because hard copy magazines are fading into history and most, if not all, magazines are available in a digital format with a subscription. If your airman isn’t really into periodicals, then maybe a subscription to a popular streaming channel might be a great gift. If the airman in your life is a gamer, there are plenty of membership subscriptions that will satisfy their gaming fix.

Gift Cards
Gift cards make great gifts for airmen because they give the recipient complete freedom to purchase what they want. Gift cards can be used in a variety of ways to shop for airman uniform items, including ribbon racks, or service pride items, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong with gift cards as gifts for airmen, especially when you can send them virtually via e-mail or mail them as a traditional plastic card.

Airman Pride
Airman hoodies, t-shirts, and hats all make great gifts for airmen. It’s a nice way for that special airman in your life to show their pride while keeping warm and looking sharp. Theater hats take a step up and allow them to show their OEF or OIF pride.

Books
If the airman in your life loves to read, then great gifts for airmen are books. If they have reading devices, you can simply purchase a book for them and they are sent a link to download their book. You can also buy them a credit on a particular e-book platform and they can download a book of their choice if you don’t want to be deal with shipping something to an airman who is currently deployed.

If your airman isn’t deployed, then consider hard copy books and even audio books for them to listen to as they work out or drive to work. Either format makes great gifts for airmen who are book fans.

Military Gifts
If you’re shopping for a seasoned airman in your life, then odds are great that your airman’s career has allowed them to collect a lot of coins, awards and trinkets from their many years of service. Items like shadow boxes, coin racks, and flag cases are wonderful gifts for airmen who have amassed items that reflect their military service. Your airman might be so busy that they’ve likely not had the time to organize those items in a way that they can be properly showcased.

These are awesome gifts for airmen or Air Force veterans with a few years of service under their belt.

Whatever gifts for airmen you decide to buy, shopping and shipping early is always smart to ensure your airman knows you are thinking about them during the holidays. Remember, take advantage of those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to not only get a great gift, but to save your hard-earned money.

Gifts for Soldiers: The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are closing in fast and if you have a U.S. soldier in your life, you might be looking for gifts for soldiers that will show them how much you care about them and show them the pride you have in their service.  

The key to buying great gifts for soldiers is to truly think about who they are and what they like. If that still doesn’t do the trick to help you find great gifts for soldiers in your life, then try this short list to find the perfect gift for the Soldier in your life and be sure to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials.

Subscriptions
Subscriptions used to be hard to manage, but thanks to technology, anyone can read, watch and play from their personal devices.

Subscriptions are great gifts for soldiers because hard copy magazines are fading into history and most, if not all, magazines are available in a digital format with a subscription. If your soldier isn’t really into periodicals, then maybe a subscription to a popular streaming channel might be a great gift. If the soldier in your life is a gamer, there are plenty of membership subscriptions that will satisfy their gaming fix.

Gift Cards
Gift cards make great gifts for soldiers because they give the recipient complete freedom to purchase what they want. Gift cards can be used in a variety of ways to shop for Soldier uniform items, including ribbon racks, or service pride items, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong with gift cards as gifts for soldiers, especially when you can send them virtually via e-mail or mail them as a traditional plastic card.

Soldier Pride
Soldier hoodies, t-shirts, and hats all make great gifts for soldiers. It’s a nice way for that special soldier in your life to show their pride while keeping warm and looking sharp. Theater hats take a step up and allow them to show their OEF or OIF pride.

Books
If the soldier in your life loves to read, then great gifts for soldiers are books. If they have reading devices, you can simply purchase a book for them and they are sent a link to download their book. You can also buy them a credit on a particular e-book platform and they can download a book of their choice if you don’t want to be deal with shipping something to a soldier who is currently deployed.

If your soldier isn’t deployed, then consider hard copy books and even audio books for them to listen to as they work out or drive to work. Either format makes great gifts for soldiers who are book fans.

Military Gifts
If you’re shopping for a seasoned soldier in your life, then odds are great that your soldier’s career has allowed them to collect a lot of coins, awards and trinkets from their many years of service. Items like shadow boxes, coin racks, and flag cases are wonderful gifts for soldiers who have amassed items that reflect their military service. Your soldier might be so busy that they’ve likely not had the time to organize those items in a way that they can be properly showcased.

These are awesome gifts for soldiers or Army veterans with a few years of service under their belt.

Whatever gifts for soldiers you decide to buy, shopping and shipping early is always smart to ensure your soldier loved one knows you are thinking about them during the holidays. Remember, take advantage of those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to not only get a great gift, but to save your hard-earned cash.

Gifts For Marines: The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are closing in fast and if you have a U.S. Marine in your life, you might be looking for gifts for Marines that will show them how much you care about them and show them the pride you have in their service.  

The key to buying great gifts for Marines is to truly think about who they are and what they like. If that still doesn’t do the trick to help you find great gifts for Marines in your life, then try this short list to find the perfect gift for the Devil Dog in your life and be sure to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials.

Subscriptions
Subscriptions used to be hard to manage, but thanks to technology, anyone can read, watch and play games from their personal devices.

Subscriptions are great gifts for Marines because hard copy magazines are fading into history and most, if not all, magazines are available in a digital format with a subscription. If your Marine isn’t really into periodicals, then maybe a subscription to a popular streaming channel might be a great gift. If the Marine in your life is a gamer, there are plenty of membership subscriptions that will satisfy their gaming fix.

Gift Cards
Gift cards make great gifts for Marines because they give the recipient complete freedom to purchase what they want. Gift cards can be used in a variety of ways to shop for Marine uniform items, including ribbon racks, or service pride items, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong with gift cards as gifts for Marines, especially when you can send them virtually via e-mail or mail them as a traditional plastic card.

Marine Corps Pride
Marine Corps hoodies, t-shirts, and hats all make great gifts for Marines. It’s a nice way for that special Marine in your life to show their pride while keeping warm and looking sharp. Theater hats take a step up and allow them to show their OEF or OIF pride.

Books
If the Marine in your life loves to read, then great gifts for Marines are books. If they have reading devices, you can simply purchase a book for them and they are sent a link to download their book. You can also by them a credit on a particular e-book platform and they can download a book of their choice if you don’t want to be bothered with shipping something to a Marine who is currently deployed.

If your Marine isn’t deployed, then consider hard copy books and even audio books for them to listen to as they work out or drive to work. Either format makes great gifts for Marines who are book fans.

Military Gifts
If you’re shopping for a seasoned Leatherneck in your life, then odds are great that your Marine’s career has allowed them to collect a lot of coins, awards and trinkets from their many years of service. Items like shadow boxes, coin racks, and flag cases are wonderful gifts for Marines who have amassed items that reflect their military service. Your Marine might be so busy that they’ve likely not had the time to organize those items in a way that they can be properly showcased.

These are awesome gifts for Marines or Marine Corps veterans with a few years of service under their belt.

Whatever gifts for Marines you decide to buy, shopping and shipping early is always smart to ensure your Marine loved one knows you are thinking about them during the holidays. Remember, take advantage of those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to not only get a great gift, but to save your hard-earned cash.

Gifts For Navy Sailors: The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are closing in fast and if you have a sailor in your life, you might be looking for gifts for Navy sailors that will show them how much you care about them and show them the pride you have in their service.  

The key to buying great gifts for Navy sailors is to truly think about who they are and what they like. If that still doesn’t do the trick to help you find great gifts for Navy sailors in your life, then try this short list and be sure to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials.

Subscriptions
Subscriptions used to be hard to manage, but thanks to technology, anyone can read, watch and play from their personal devices.

Subscriptions are great gifts for Navy sailors because hard copy magazines are fading into history and most, if not all, magazines are available in a digital format with a subscription. If your sailor isn’t really into periodicals, then maybe a subscription to a popular streaming channel might be a great gift. If the sailor in your life is a gamer, there are plenty of membership subscriptions that will satisfy their gaming fix.

Gift Cards
Gift cards make great gifts for Navy sailors because they give the recipient complete freedom to purchase what they want. Gift cards can be used in a variety of ways to shop for Navy uniform items, including ribbon racks, or service pride items, but rest assured, you can’t go wrong with gift cards as gifts for Navy sailors, especially when you can send them virtually via e-mail or mail them as a traditional plastic card.

Navy Pride
Navy hoodies, t-shirts, and hats all make great gifts for Navy sailors. It’s a nice way for that special sailor in your life to show their pride while keeping warm and looking sharp. Customized hats take a step up and allow them to show their ship pride.

Books
If the sailor in your life loves to read, then great gifts for Navy sailors are books. If they have reading devices, you can simply purchase a book for them and they are sent a link to download their book. You can also buy them a credit on a particular e-book platform and they can download a book of their choice if you don’t want to be bothered with shipping something to a sailor who is underway.

If your sailor is on shore duty, then consider hard copy books and even audio books for them to listen to as they work out or drive to work. Either format makes great gifts for Navy sailors who are book fans.

Military Gifts
If you’re shopping for a seasoned salt in your life, then odds are great that your sailor’s career has allowed them to collect a lot of coins, awards and trinkets from their many years of service. Items like shadow boxes, coin racks, Navy plaques, and flag cases are wonderful gifts for Navy sailors who have amassed items that reflect their military service. Your sailor might be so busy that they’ve likely not had the time to organize those items in a way that they can be properly showcased.

These are awesome gifts for Navy sailors or Navy veterans with a few years of service under their belt.

Whatever gifts for Navy sailors you decide to buy, shopping and shipping early is always smart to ensure your seafaring loved one knows you are thinking about them during the holidays. Remember, take advantage of those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to not only get a great gift, but to save your hard-earned cash.

Army Alphabet From A-Z And How To Learn It

Many people who have never served in the military refer to the phonetic alphabet as the Army alphabet. The truth is, there is no such thing as the Army alphabet. However, the U.S. military does use a uniform system, the phonetic alphabet, to convey English letters during military communications. For this post, however, we will refer to it as the Army alphabet.

The military’s phonetic alphabet, sometimes known as the Army alphabet, uses 26 words in lieu of the standard alphabet pronunciation. Each word represents a letter of the English alphabet.

This army alphabet reduces communication errors and it is commonly known as the NATO phonetic alphabet. This army alphabet, also known as the phonetic alphabet, was adopted in 1951.

Since 1951, the Army alphabet as it is known has also become a bit of short hand to represent phrases. For example, Tango Yankee means “thank you” and Bravo Zulu means “well done.”

If you’re planning on joining the military or need a refresher in the Army alphabet, it is probably easiest to memorize the Army alphabet by learning it backwards. In other words, start with the letter “Z” and go through the entire 26 letters of the Army alphabet until you learn them all and get to “A.”

Using the Army alphabet to spell your name, your street name and other things familiar to you can help too.

The Army alphabet is below.

A = Alpha
B = Bravo
C = Charlie
D = Delta
E = Echo
F = Foxtrot
G = Golf
H = Hotel
I = India
J = Juliet
K = Kilo
L = Lima
M = Mike
N = November
O = Oscar
P = Papa
Q = Quebec
R = Romeo
S = Sierra
T = Tango
U = Uniform
V = Victor
W = Whiskey
X = Xray
Y = Yankee
Z = Zulu

Is The Military Affected By Shutdowns From COVID-19?

It’s hard to believe, but it's been a while since late 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic began in China and spread worldwide within months. As the virus spread across the globe, many future recruits found themselves asking is the military affected by shutdown?

Basic and Individual Training
Luckily, creative U.S. military leaders devised multiple plans that included quarantines, reducing training class sizes, social distancing and other steps that the service branches took to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to trainees. Although many family members of future recruits still asked is the military affected by shutdown, the services quite successfully managed to fight the spread of COVID-19 and keep training on schedule.

And while new recruits found themselves asking in basic and individual training, is the military affected by shutdown, they completed training and marched on in their careers.

Military Operations
Is the military affected by shutdown? Not when it comes to operations. The U.S. military has taken steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but the OPTEMPO of the military has not slowed. The Navy continues its worldwide deployments and other branches of service continue their global rotations. It is a legitimate question though, to ask is the military affected by shutdown?

In fact, even high profile recruiting and awareness operations like the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds have continued their outreach after initially cancelling shows. Is the military affected by shutdown? Operationally speaking, no.

Pay and Benefits
Changes in the way the military carries out its day-to-day operations might have some military members, retirees and veterans asking themselves is the military affected by shutdown? Many federal workers have been asked to telecommute and some services, like records requests and historical support, have been slowed.

But the truth is, despite COVID-19 mitigation protocols, vital services like veteran benefits and military pay have not been impacted. In fact, federal plans stipulate that human life and property be protected no matter what happens during a COVID crisis. Is the military affected by shutdown, not when it comes to veterans and military benefits needed to sustain life.

COVID-19 Vaccine
The Department of Defense has ordered all military members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the outcome of that order has yet to be determined. Certainly, some military members will request exemption based on a variety of reasons and their challenges will be scrutinized in legal channels, but for now, is the military affected by shutdown? No, the COVID-19 vaccine has been given widely to many military members and there is no evidence to suggest that a shutdown will be caused by the COVID-19 vaccine. Is the military affected by shutdown because of the COVID-19 vaccine? Nope.

Military Fashion & How It Became Mainstream

Military fashion. Two words that you never thought would go together, yet they do. Military fashion, that is, military-themed clothing, is a huge industry and it is more than a trend given military fashion has been around for decades.

Although some say that military fashion has been around since World War II, military fashion really came into American fashion culture in the 1960s and 1970s as soldiers came home from Vietnam and wore various components of their uniforms almost in defiance of a nation that didn’t welcome them home. They were proud of their service and some didn’t hide it. Fatigue pants and field jackets were popular amongst returning veterans.

Today, Vietnam Era military uniform items are considered vintage military fashion, but clothing manufacturers have figured out that the item doesn’t have to be authentic military issue in order to be considered military fashion.

The fashion industry has taken notice that Americans, and others throughout the world, love military-themed clothing because of its utility and practicality. Not to mention, it looks pretty good.

Today, it is not uncommon to see t-shirts, caps, hoodies, pants and jackets rocking camouflage patterns of various colors and designs. This urbanized style of military fashion is popular and doesn’t show any signs of slowing as a trend.

Boots are also a popular military fashion trend. They can come in different styles and materials that highlight the individuality of the wearer and a lack of conformity in a very conforming culture. Boots deliver a message about the person wearing them.

Field jackets and peacoats are a military fashion mainstay. Derived from the Army and Navy respectively, these two highly popular items are not only attractive additions to any ensemble, but they are highly functional fashion.

In recent years, cargo pants and shorts, made popular by battle dress uniforms, have taken the military fashion world by storm. These come in a variety of styles and military colors like black, green, khaki and brown, but some brands offer the trousers in camo patterns as well.

Military fashion, mostly, can be seen in casual settings. Those cargo pants go well with military-style boots and maybe a blazer over a camo pattern shirt. Remember, most fashion consultants believe that you should only wear one camo item in your ensemble. You’re not out to blend into the environment, you’re dressing to stand out.

And yes, even though Top Gun has come and gone, aviation jackets and glasses are still a thing and you will always look awesome rocking those items when it comes to military fashion.