7 Gifts for a Military Leader


Military leaders are hard to buy gifts for. We’re busy, we’ve already got a lot of gear, and we don’t talk about what we need until we really need it. If you’re in a pinch to buy for someone in the military (or anyone else, for that matter), check out these easy gifts. I own each and swear by them.

StrengthsFinder 2.0

No other book in recent memory has had a more immediate and valuable impact on me as a leader. It reframed how I view my own approach to leadership and gave me a valuable framework to teach others. The research-backed concept is simple: discover your strengths, lead through your strengths, and build your team around your strengths. Very powerful!

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Gallup and Tom Rath

Moleskine Classic Notebook

Spend a day in the military and you’ll see that we’ve got a notebook rivalry happening. It’s basically down to the GSA-issued green notebook and the Moleskine. The Moleskine is a revitalization of the traveling notebooks used by creatives like Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway. If you want something beyond what the supply shop can issue, yet just as tough, check out the line of Moleskine notebooks.

Moleskine Classic Ruled Soft Cover Notebook, Large 5 x 8.25-Inches

A Field-Ready Pen

And you might need a field-ready pen to go with that Moleskine. The Lamy Swift Rollerball is matte-black and made of metal, so it’s low-vis and tough. It’s also got a smooth-writing, retractable pen for one-handed operation. I’ve had mine for years and just lost it, so I’ll be buying a new one soon.

LAMY Swift Rollerball Pen, Matte Black

The Challenge of Command

I read this book 20 years ago and still reference it today. The Challenge of Command is exceptional for two reasons. First, it’s a leadership book that’s filled with historical examples (always appreciated). Second, it’s a reading guide for military study, citing dozens and dozens of other works to add to the military library. Trust me, it’ll be valuable for years to come.

Challenge of Command: Reading for Military Excellence by Roger H. Nye

Ballistic Phone Case

Whether you’re going to the field, working in the motor pool, or trapped in meetings all day, this is the phone case to get. It kept my iPhone pristine over the last 2 years and is slimmer than LifeProof and OtterBox cases. And there’s a belt clip if you need a rapidly-deployable phone case.

Ballistic Heavy Duty Protection [Tough Jacket Maxx Series]

Alite Designs Camping Chair

The lightest, most compact and comfortable chair out there. I’ve used it camping, lounging around a fire with friends, and in the field. Throw it in your ruck and deploy it at chow time or in between sessions at the range. You could be a hard Ranger and sit on the cold ground, or a smart Ranger and get the Alite Designs Monarch Chair.

Tissot T-Touch Expert

Digital compass. Altimeter. Thermometer. Barometer. Classic styling and a touchscreen face. The Tissot T-Touch Expert is the perfect alternative to the pricey Breitling and Tag models. And it’s made of titanium, so it’s incredibly lightweight (15.84 oz) and indestructible. This is a great gift if you’re looking for a functional watch for both office and field environments that doesn’t look too flashy with the uniform.

Tissot Men’s T0134204720200 T-Touch Expert Watch

There you go! What other gifts do you give to service members? Leave a comment below.

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