The first salute a newly commissioned officer receives is a special moment. Naval tradition holds that the new officer should return the honor of a salute with the special token of a silver dollar. While at OCS, you should think about who you would like to give you your first salute.
Who Gives You Your First Salute?
Anyone of your choice, basically. Does one of the enlisted Sergeant Instructors impress you more than the others? Do you have any enlisted friends or relatives (even retired) who you would like to honor? Whoever you invite for the ceremony, make sure they’ve served in the military on the enlisted side.
What Silver Dollar Should I Use?
There are many silver dollars in circulation or available out of circulation from coin shops or online. Tradition and good sense would dictate that the token not be one of the non-silver dollars around, such as the Sacagawea or cheap $1 Presidential coins minted in the last several years which contain no silver. It would be very classy to find silver dollars minted in important years, such as the year of commissioning, birth year, or a coin fifty or one hundred years old on the year of commissioning.
Consider giving the silver dollar with a presentable frame or backing, such as at minimum an air-tight capsule, a frame, a jewelry box, or a cutout frame with photograph of the first salute.
Note: The easiest dollar coins to find are usually not commemorative silver dollars. Most of the Eisenhower or Susan B. Anthony dollars are readily available at $1, are not silver and are therefore not a very impressive gift to someone.
Ensure friends or family are photographing the special moment!