Gift Ideas for a Change in Command & Other Military Occasions

Military life is punctuated by frequent transitions, promotions, and farewells—often marking significant milestones and achievements. In these moments of transition, like a change in command, gift giving is a way to honor the contributions, celebrate bonds formed, and send service members off with good will.

In this blog, we’ll explore various military going away gift ideas for honoring those transitioning from one chapter to the next.

Change in Command Gifts: Honoring an Outgoing Military Leader

A change in command is a pivotal moment in military life, signifying the transfer of leadership from one commanding officer to another and embodying the continuity and evolution of a unit’s mission. 

During a change of command ceremony, presenting a military farewell gift to the outgoing commanding officer serves as a token of appreciation for their leadership and dedication. It’s a moment where the unit comes together to show gratitude and respect for their departing leader, acknowledging the impact they’ve had on the team. This tradition reinforces the bonds within the unit and highlights the importance of camaraderie in military culture.

One of the most fitting gifts for a change in command is a military farewell plaque. These plaques are not just decorative pieces but symbols of recognition and honor. They typically feature a personalized message from the unit, expressing gratitude and wishing their commanding officer well on their next assignment. Messages on wood military plaques can range from a thanks for leadership to anecdotes that capture memorable moments shared during the commander’s tenure.

At Navy Paddles, we offer a variety of options for custom military plaques, allowing you to customize the design, message, and even incorporate unit emblems or rank insignias

Some other great gifts for a change in command ceremony include:

Change in Command Gifts: Gifts for Military Promotions

In the military, gifts are often exchanged at the end of a command tour rather than at the beginning. However, while formal gifts may not be common for incoming officers during a change in command, loved ones often celebrate these promotions with private celebrations and gifts.

If you’re seeking a gift to celebrate the military promotion of a friend or loved one, consider a gift that reflects their new role, unit, or mission in their particular branch of the military. Custom engravings are a great way to incorporate personal messaging and military symbolism into any number of gifts. Here are just a few customizable gift ideas to get you thinking: 

  • Personalized desk accessories, like a custom picture plate or engraved picture frame.
  • Custom-engraved watch or compass 
  • Photo album or memory book
  • Specialty plaques to celebrate and preserve the memory of the milestone at home

Military PCS Gifts

When a buddy or personnel is moving through a permanent change of station (PCS), it marks a significant transition in their military journey. It’s a time of packing up, saying goodbye to one posting, and preparing for the next adventure. In such situations, thoughtful gifts can provide comfort and support during the upheaval of relocation.

Military plaques make excellent PCS gifts because they offer a tangible reminder of the bonds forged and the memories created at the current duty station. These plaques can be personalized with messages of camaraderie and best wishes from colleagues, making them a cherished memento of the time spent together. In addition to military plaques, here a few other simple, travelable, but still personal gift ideas:

  • Paracord bracelets
  • Personalized travel accessories, like passport holders or engraved carabiners
  • Sentimental mementos, like custom-engraved coins
  • Customized journals or notebooks

Military Retirement Gift Ideas

Military retirement is a significant milestone that deserves special recognition. Unlike PCS moves or change in command, retirement signifies the end of a long and distinguished career in the armed forces. When choosing a gift for retirement from military, consider the retiree’s years of service, specific accomplishments, and personal military values.

For someone within the military community, giving military retirement plaques is a traditional and meaningful gesture. These plaques serve as a tangible representation of gratitude and appreciation for the retiree’s service and dedication and help carry their legacy for years. 

Beyond traditional plagues, there are several other ways to celebrate and show your appreciation for a retiring service member—whether they’re a military buddy, commander, or loved one. Here are a few of our go-to gifts for military retirement, including specialty plaques and unique memorabilia: 

What Is an Appropriate Gift for Military Retirement or Change in Command?

When it comes to choosing a gift for military occasions like a change in command, it’s essential to understand the guidelines and etiquette surrounding gift-giving in the military. Generally, military members cannot accept gifts from lower-paid employees in a superior-subordinate relationship; and there are restrictions and financial limitations on most gifts in the military. 

While these restrictions typically do not apply in the case of retirement or other termination of a professional relationship, it’s still a good idea to refer to the official guidelines to make sure your gift is legal, respectful, and will not get the service member in trouble.

Some other considerations to keep in mind when choosing appropriate going-away gifts for retirement, PCS moves, or change in command include:

Personalization: Whether gifts for Navy retirement or PCS in the Army, gifts that reflect the individual’s branch or unit, interests, values, and accomplishments can make the gesture more meaningful and memorable.

Practicality: Gifts that are useful or practical for the individual’s transition to civilian life or their new duty station are often appreciated.

Symbolism: Opting for gifts that symbolize camaraderie, loyalty, and the shared experiences of military service can reinforce the bonds within the unit and honor the retiree or departing officer.

Professionalism: Especially for those continuing their service, choose a gift that maintains professionalism and decorum, avoiding gifts that may be perceived as overly extravagant.

As we salute the dedication and sacrifice of our veterans and active-duty personnel, gifting with heart, thought, and care becomes a powerful way to show respect, celebrate accomplishments, and express gratitude during change in command and other transitions.

Whether you’re seeking gifts for military personnel or family, you can find a multitude of options at our veteran-owned shop at Navy Paddles that embody these core values and honor the rich traditions of military service.

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