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7 Great Gadgets and Gifts for Cadets (2023)

No matter which branch of the military your cadet is in, they have a rigorous training schedule ahead of them. They will not only be learning general military skills, but individual preparedness training, small unit tactical operations, and leadership skills. As plebes (first years), they start fresh with most necessities supplied by the military, so unfortunately they will lack the comforts of home. As they progress they will earn more privileges and will be permitted to receive certain items.

Check first to find out what is ok to send them. You don’t want them getting excited to receive a present, only to have it confiscated. However, you can save some gifts for cadets that they can’t keep with them to give when they are home on leave, or as a going away present. Then they have something to look forward to in addition to seeing loved ones.

1. Bullet Casing Tank

Army cadet gifts

Bullet Casing Tank – Army cadet gifts

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How cool is this? A replica of a tank is a unique gift, but one made of bullet casings is even more suitable for a soldier. While they can’t take this with them, it will be waiting at home to show how proud you are of their accomplishments.

You can also give them a U.S. Army blanket to keep them warm on cold nights.

For the down time, army playing cards will give them something to pass the time with their peers.

2. Piece of the Berlin Wall

Memorable gift for air force cadets

Piece of the Berlin Wall – Memorable gift for air force cadets

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While this is a cool piece of history for anyone, zoomies (air force cadets) will understand the significance of the fight for freedom. WWII fanatics will also be awed by an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall.

For a cadet who likes to build things,a model WWII airplane will be a hit. Most of these don’t come decorated so you may want to get them paints for plastic models to complete the project.

A world scratch off map will be a distinctive way for them to keep track of all the places they are stationed. This is also a great gift for navy cadets.

3. Military Coin Challenge Display Case

Gift ideas for cadets

Military Coin Challenge Display Case – Gift ideas for cadets

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Although they haven’t earned any yet, eventually they will need a place to display their merits. They worked hard for these. Don’t let them stay hidden in a drawer.

A sundial compass is a piece of history, a long history that they are now part of. Most of these are fully functioning so they are more than just a token of remembrance.

A military watch will be useful no matter what branch of the military they enter, since they don’t have metal bands.

4. Nautical Sextant

Classic gifts for sea cadets

Nautical Sextant – Classic gifts for sea cadets

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A nautical sextant is another historical gift that will be cherished by squids (naval academy cadets). These were traditionally used on ships to measure the angle between a celestial object and the horizon to assess the ship’s position in the sea.

Reminiscent of days when sailors had to battle pirates on the high seas, marines or navy men will appreciate a vintage brass marine telescope to showcase.

A military journal can be a good place to reflect on their thoughts while far from home.

5. Military Board Games

Fun gifts for cadets

Military Board Games – Fun gifts for cadets

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Practice strategic thinking with military board games. Try classics such as Risk or the more modern game, Civilization.

Many gifts are not allowed in basic training, so find out what and when gifts can be sent. However, when permitted, some boodle (slang term for snacks) will be a hit among their whole unit. A snack box care package will provide a bit of comfort food when they are homesick.

If they are avid readers, give them a copy of Band of Brothers for some classic military history. It is available on audible or Kindle. This is also available in paperback if they prefer a physical book.

6. Leatherman Multi Tool

Gadget gifts for ROTC cadets

Leatherman Multi Tool – Gadget gifts for ROTC cadets

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A multitool which includes wire cutters, scissors, saw and more will make a great accessory in the field. Start them off with this great gift while in ROTC.

While cell phones are allowed after training, a handheld GPS is useful for dead zones.

A military tactical pen can be used as a flashlight, to break glass, as a weapon, and of course for writing.

7. Dry Bag

Useful gifts for army cadets

Dry Bag – Useful gifts for army cadets

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There is nothing worse than wet gear, well almost nothing. Help them keep their stuff out of the elements with a sturdy dry bag.

Keep their bodies dry with a waterproof jacket.

Then give a set of waterproof notebooks so they can write in whatever conditions they find themselves in.

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Article author

Donna Emperador
Donna Emperador

I am an experienced freelance writer and travel blogger who loves discovering new and interesting things. During holidays, I love searching out perfect gifts for friends and family members, and I am happy that now I get to share my findings with you as well!

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