“What should I get a graduating or commissioning candidate?” is a question asked by many family members unfamiliar with the Corps.
The following were my favorite gifts when I graduated OCS and commissioned (on the same day).
If you have a new Second Lieutenant en route to The Basic School, check out our TBS gift guide.
2nd Lieutenant Challenge Coin
This coin pays tribute to the courage and dedication of all those who serve as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Marine Corps. The obverse features a rendering of the rank insignia worn by these proud warriors. The reverse bears the globe, eagle, and anchor emblem of the U.S. Marine Corps. Struck in a brass alloy and imbued with an enamel finish, this coin comes packaged with a header card that describes the history and mission of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Engraved Kabar Knife (2nd Lt First Last/Date of Commissioning)
The most famous fixed blade knife in the World – “the KA-BAR” – was designed to serve our troops during World War II. Get one and have it engraved for an extra-special gift. For example:
“2nd Lt John Smith
November 10, 20XX”
A USMC doormat
USMC License plate holder
USMC money clip
Nice military watch, waterproof with a compass
USMC Officers Sword Mount
USMC Bumper Stickers
You know the whole family will have these so just get some.
Remember, what is special differs quite a bit depending on personal preferences. Expensive is not necessarily better. A $15 doormat that claimed my house was a USMC house was my absolute favorite thing! So think what your candidate would like.
10 thoughts on “The 2018 OCS Graduation and Commissioning Gift Guide”
Is the challenge coin something you got from a family member or friend, or was it from another officer? Is it appropriate to give someone a challenge coin as a graduation present if the person giving it isn’t in the Marines?
Is it appropriate to get a newly-graduated Marine a sword?
Family or friends could get you the coin, probably not another officer unless you share a close relationship. If nobody gets you one, drop some more hints or hit up the PX by yourself! The coin is only appropriate for a Lieutenant, unless you find one that says OCS specifically. Double, triple-check to make sure it’s USMC OCS and not Army OCS.
A sword is the greatest gift a new Marine *OFFICER* could get! There are NCO and Officer swords, and they are different, so be careful with that. Also, the size needs to be measured to the lieutenant, in person, to get the right length of sword.
The coin would be fine, but they will not need the sword as an Enlisted man right away and as an Officer it is mandatory to purchase at the basic school, Semper Fi, Captain Steve
Graduated from USMC OCS in 2005. I am looking for the lighter green OCS tshirt that I purchased in Quantico. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Those are known as T-shirts Tactical Marine Corps, and made by Puerto Rico company Kandor Manufacturing. Unfortunately they are not currently available for private sale online. We are going to try to find a way to buy them or identical items. We will publish what we find soon so stay tuned!
Those are nice shirts.
I know Sgt Grit had them at one time, which i was surprised of as they were a tightly controlled item when i graduated OCS in 1979. You had to be there, do that, to get one.
Ah, Camp Upshur …… good times!
I can’t help but comment here. When I arrived at AOC in 1971, Vietnam was in full swing. Olive drab Tshirts were reserved for Marines in the field. The Platoon Sgt. and Sgt. Instructors gave us boxes of RIT clothing dye. Our Tshirts ended up a very odd shade of pea green. Definitely not standard issue! I had forgotten all about it.
Will I be able to buy a challenge coin at OCS? The ones on amazon and other sites online are sold out.
They just got back in stock on Amazon! Check again. Otherwise the Marine Shop in Quantico should have plenty.