Retiring from the military can be both stressful and joyous, and each soldier will have different levels of comfort with pomp and ceremony. Coming up with military retirement party ideas is a challenging order, requiring that you tailor the event to the soldier, but there are a few tactics you can use regardless of division or length of service. Be sure you check with your soldier's commanding officers for approval if you'll be hosting the event on base and need to invite other members of the unit.
Military Retirement Party Decorations
One of the first things you should do is contact and coordinate with the soldier's commanding officer and unit. The CO will be able to tell you when and where you can hold any celebrations or ceremonies on base, and the unit she serves in may have ideas on how to best honor the soldier's career.
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Among the armed forces, there's a joke that only a few things are certain in life – death and paperwork. While the retiring soldier has escaped death, paperwork is an inevitable aspect of interacting with the military, even when you're leaving it.
The Air Force offers resources detailing a checklist for an approved retirement party. You should ask for a list like this to give you an example of some of the logistics needed to successfully host a party on or off base. The CO can provide a similar list to suit your local base and branch of service.
Photos, Speeches and More
Retirement parties in the military not only celebrate the soldier's leaving the military but also honor his career and accomplishments in uniform. Photos from different times and places in his service can serve as a nostalgic journey from training to retirement.
Small speeches by friends and fellow soldiers and officers will be meaningful, and typed or handwritten copies of those speeches will make wonderful keepsakes.
Military Retirement Party Ideas
When planning a retirement party, try to bring your soldier's career full circle by involving something from when she was first recruited or graduated boot camp. Yellow footprints to stand on for Marines, a dram of grog for Army battery officers and so on will make a big impact.
Beyond obtaining the simple necessities of throwing a party, such as cups and plates, you could obtain a plaque or shadowbox to honor your soldier. Having a physical token which can be on permanent display in his home to honor the years of service and accomplishment can be very meaningful for a career soldier.
While some soldiers will prefer to simply enjoy coffee and donuts with family, friends and comrades in arms, others will want to start their civilian life with a backyard barbeque and others will want a formal, on-base ceremony such as the passing of a flag up the ranks until it reaches the retiree, followed by a small reception. There are as many army retirement party ideas as there are soldiers, and coordinating with the soldier's officers and fellow soldiers will help you properly celebrate and memorialize a career in uniform without making the retiree uncomfortable.