Basic Training and AIT Graduation Gift Ideas

Graduation from Basic Training is going to be one of the most monumental moments in a soldier’s life.  Given the levity of the event, it’s common for close family members, such as a mom, dad, husband, wife, or significant other to give a meaningful and heartfelt gift to soldiers to commemorate the occasion.

Gifts for Soldiers Swearing In

Watching your soldier swear into service is such an amazing, and fast, event. Those 10 minutes or so of ceremony is what makes your soldier a service member for years to come. It not only means that your son, or daughter has joined the United States Army, Air Force, Marines, or other branch of service, it means, they’re about to leave for Basic Training.

There aren’t a lot of things that soldiers can take with them to Basic Training, so when you’re looking for a heartfelt present that will keep you close with them while you’re apart, it can be tricky.

Suggested Gifts

  • Bible
  • Watch
  • Care Package
  • Cell Phone
  • Mophie

soldiers bible
Each soldier can take one Bible or religious book with them to Basic Training. A good choice might be the Soldiers Bible .

The Soldiers Bible has a Special Prayer and Devotional Section for Army Personnel. It’s green and bonded leather with slide-tab closure. My husband actually mailed my daughter one of these while she was at Basic.

Another great gift idea for soldiers that have recently sworn in and will be going to Basic Training soon is a new watch. A very popular watch among soldiers is the Men’s G-Shock Watch. The watch should be black, and waterproof. In some cases, other colors of watches are allowed, so if your soldiers says he can have a white one, he probably can. For now though, we’re going with black, as that’s what’s most normally accepted. Here’s a tip though, get one you’ll recognize in photos! You’ll greatly appreciate that tip later on.

One of the coolest things about buying a watch for a soldier is that you will be able to use that watch to recognize the soldier in pictures later. 😉


If you’re not familiar with G-Shock watches, there’s a  black military watch   available that will meet military standards.

If you’re unsure what to buy a soldier as a gift, AND that soldier is allowed to have care packages, you could always send one of those. If they’re allowed, soldiers love them!

Basic Training Graduation Gifts

Any of the gifts for deploying soldiers will work for solders that are already at Basic Training, once soldiers have graduated from Basic however, they’re allowed a lot more freedom and in many cases can carry phones, laptops and tablets and the highly coveted civilian clothes!

Now before we go too far here  and the comments section gets filled up with comments reminding me that not all people can keep their cell phones at AIT; let it be said that that’s true. Some MP units and OSUT units have been known to withhold celly’s the entire time. In most cases though, soldiers can have civilian clothing which they can wear when they’ve earned the privilege. They can also have their cell phones, their tablet or laptop, and many other non-food items.

If your soldier has their laptop already, a nice Netflix subscription would probably be HIGHLY appreciated. I hadn’t thought of that before because my daughter just used our families Netflix subscription, so she didn’t need one.

AIT Graduation Gifts

Another monumental moment in the life of a soldier is their first AIT graduation. I say first because soldiers can actually go back to AIT and learn to MOS’s (jobs). However, that first AIT or OSUT graduation, after basic training is all finished, and they’re really fully trained soldiers of the United States Army is a moment no soldier, or parent, or significant other is going to forget.

We as families were very limited when it came to gifting possibilities while soldiers were still in Basic Training, and still fairly limited when soldiers graduated AIT, but … that’s over now, the sky is really the limit when it comes to gifts for soldiers that have graduated basic training and AIT and are moving on to the next phase in their lives.

Some of the more popular gifts at this stage are:

Sentimental Gifts

You may also want to consider a gift that will be useful when the soldier is deployed especially if the soldier is being deployed soon after graduation.

Bicycles, a Deployment Must Have!

I was surprised to read that soldiers have been riding bikes while deployed since WW2. It’s just not something you think about I guess. It is sometimes possible for soldiers to buy bicycles, and propane refrigerators, televisions, and other neat items from soldiers that are on their way back to the states for pretty cheap. Bikes also make a really great gifts for soldiers.

Normally we’d consider a bike a great deployment gift rather than an AIT graduation gift, however, for those heading over to the sandbox, weight restrictions can make them impossible to ship. It’s better to get your soldier a foldable bike early so that they can carry it onto the plane and into the sandbox with them.

Montague Folding Bike

Montague Folding Bike

Without writing an entire article about the best bikes for deployment, which after having researched for 2 or 3 days, I do believe I could, let me just share with you some of the high points.

  1. Soldiers may be able to buy bikes from departing soldiers.
  2. Chains and Sand don’t mix well, so belts are better.
  3. Aluminum frames can be hard to repair abroad.
  4. The Speed Uno has a plastic guard around the chain, making it sand friendly.
  5. You’re soldier’s going to want to take some spare parts, inner tubes at the very least.
  6. Montague is highly recommended.

Montague. I’ve had one for six years and ride in the sand, mud, and dirt. Frame is tough to hurt. -thedave80

Deployment Gifts

Entertaining Gift Ideas

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of very dull downtime during a deployment, time during which video games, and other handheld devices are literal life savers.

Popular Entertainment Gift Ideas:
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Pentax Optio WG-3

An I’ve read that so many soldiers were thrilled to have had while they were deployed is a camera. It’s
recommended that the camera be durable, for obvious reasons, and waterproof. This is another of those gifts that’s as much for you as it is for them though right? They get to take wonderful pictures to remember what they’ve seen and where they’ve been, and you get to see them and share a part of what is surely a life changing journey with them.


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