What do I get my Airman?!

Garmin Forerunner 210 / USAF Wreath / Air Force 40 Challenge Coin Holder / Reebok Boots / ABU iPad Case / USAF Toiletry Kit / H-D USAF Pin-up Pilsner Set / Membership – National Museum of the United States Air Force / Rocky S2V / Black 3 Day Pass

I often see folks wondering what to get their favorite Airman for graduation from BMT.  Trust me, your mere presence at graduation weekend is a gift enough!  Your freshly minted Airman is thankful to have you there to celebrate their accomplishments and take them out for a real meal in the town.  Remember, they haven’t been able to eat a meal in peace and at their leisure in weeks, let alone indulge in dessert, most likely. 

That being said, if you’re wanting to drop some coin, I’m here to help with some ideas to get you started!

**My favorite gift couldn’t be included in the collage above, but it’s worth a look.  The Airman Legacy Paver.  For $55 you can have a personalized paver on the bomb run at Lackland AFB.  The pavers that your Airman will march over during parade?  Very significant, very meaningful.  This is where your Airman’s career started – help them make their mark.  These pavers support the construction and development of the Airman Heritage Museum.**

What do I get my Airman?!

Garmin Forerunner 210 – This is a GPS watch for running that also monitors your heart rate.  I have a similar watch for my own training, and they’re fantastic.  I purposefully selected this watch because it is all black, meaning your Airman could wear it while in uniform as well.  That next PT test will be here before you know it, and why not keep the momentum going, since your Airman is probably in fantastic shape right now!

Air Force Wreath – This may seem a little different, but what about an AF wreath to show some pride at home?  If your Airman has already bought everything they need/want and you need to think a little out of the box, this is a great way to tastefully fly your colors at home.  

AF Museum Membership – Is your Airman more culturally minded, or upholding a long family tradition of AF/military services?  What about an annual membership to the National Museum of the United States Air Force?  Even if they can’t make it out to Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, that often, they would still appreciate receiving their quarterly journal and supporting the preservation of our history.

3 Day Pass Bag – This is a fantastic backpack that will serve your Airman well whether they’re toting study materials around their tech school base or their gear once the permanent party.  I purposefully picked black (versus the ABU style that I own) because it’s not only cheaper but more versatile.  Solid black bags must be worn/carried when a member is wearing their blues.  Tons of storage, tons of organization, this is a solid buy and can be personalized if you buy a name tape to go across the front.

ABU iPad Case – If your Airman is an Apple-lover, they’ll enjoy this iPad case.  It’s a trifold style with slots for a pen/stylus and cards.  Your iPad is zippered into its section and there’s a microfiber cleaning pad included.  The trifold style allows you to prop it up for viewing and you can personalize it with a name tape across the front.  I bought this for my iPad and my DH quickly commandeered it.  With so many maintainers using iPads now, this is a great option.

Challenge Coin Rack – You’d be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate challenge coins while in the military.  I have always loved these AF logo shaped racks, and the open top allows them to accommodate irregularly shaped coins.  Keep in mind that your Airman will need desk/table space to accommodate this item, as it is not a wall-mountable rack.

Air Force BMT Graduation

Harley AF Pin-Up Pilsner – The AF crowd is no stranger to a craft beer, as you’ll soon learn.  If your Airman is also a Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiast they’ll really get a kick out of this pin-up pilsner set.  Just remember that they’re not allowed to drink until tech school, and only if they’re of legal age and not in uniform/not during the duty day.

AF Toiletry Bag – Another recommendation from personal experience, this toiletry bag is perfect for vacation or a short TDY.  Tons of pockets and organization loops inside, this has a hanging hook and a mirror inside.  Ladies, you’ll love the elastic loops on the inside for makeup brushes and other small items.  I can get out of town with just this one toiletry bag, rather than having a separate bag for makeup.  Again, buy a plain name tape to slip in the front to personalize!

New Boots – Chances are, your Airman will be ready to ditch their issued boots once they finish BMT in favor of a more comfortable pair.  The two pairs shown are mine and DH’s boots of choice.  As a maintainer, he loves these Reeboks with their side-zip and composite toes for safety.  Easy on, easy off, no lacing required, and a sturdy, comfortable sole for all day on the flight line.  While I’m not on my feet all day like he is, these Rocky boots are comfortable, have great traction for our snowy conditions, and offer great padding through the shaft of the boot.

Keep in mind that your Airman will have very limited space and restrictions on what they can bring along to tech school.  Worse come to worst, you can always mail items to them at their tech school location.


  • Leahsaid

    Hi Erin!You mentioned a black watch… I am preparing to go to Basic in February. Can I bring a gray watch? Is that in code?Thank you!-Leah

  • Erinsaid

    @Leah – If it counts as conservative, then I think it might be a yes. Here's the regulation, verbatim. Here's the AFI:" Watches. Must be conservative and only one can be worn around the wrist while in uniform, PTU, or civilian attire in an official capacity. Conservative examples (not all inclusive) are solid color black, brown, silver or gold. Prohibited examples are diamond- covered, neon, bright colors, and bands that exceed 1-inch width."

  • Leahsaid

    Thank you so much Erin! I just made a run to buy some things, like your recommended compression shorts today – I'm 33 days out and getting anxious! 🙂

  • Kristi Hingstrumsaid

    I'm keeping these in mind for once I do graduate 🙂 Maybe I will buy myself a grad gift! haha

  • gretchen fsaid

    These are awesome ideas! has anyone done the airman legacy paver? i'm thinking is it too much to gift as a gift from just graduating bmt?

  • Erinsaid

    @gretchen f – My brother did one for me for Christmas one year. 🙂 I definitely don't think it's too much for just graduating BMT. I think it's MORE meaningful, since they would've just marched across the bomb run where the paver is set. The idea that you leave a little piece of yourself is awesome, since you're coming off of the high of just graduating. It also works out well because it's not a tangible item your Airman has to pack to take to tech school. 😉

  • margenotmargaretsaid

    Hi Erin! I just read that your brother did a legacy paver for you for Christmas. Do you know how long the process took him to complete? I was interested in getting one for my boyfriend for his graduation from BMT on Nov. 13 and I was trying to figure out if it would be finished before than (today is Oct. 8) Thanks in advance!