How to celebrate a major promotion?
June 18, 2012 11:36 AM   Subscribe

How to celebrate an Air Force promotion from afar?

My brother is about to be promoted to Major in the US Air Force. No one from my family will be able to attend. I'm looking for creative ideas for how to honor him and show him how proud we are. I've thought of the obvious - flowers, balloons, Edible Arrangements, etc. - but I'd like to do something more personal. I don't know much about military culture or customs at all and I'd love your ideas for wonderful, surprising, but not-too-expensive ways to send love from a distance.

I do live near the Air Force Academy, if that opens up any options. My brother is married with young children. Teddy bears have some family significance. He likes beer very much.
posted by TrixieRamble to Human Relations (8 answers total)
How about three teddy bears: one getting his new ranks pinned on his shoulders by bears representing the family?
posted by xingcat at 11:38 AM on June 18, 2012

Best answer: You could use xingcat's teddy bear scenario to create a stop-motion video. After the ceremony, the bears could open a beer.
posted by feral_goldfish at 11:45 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Build A Bear should have Air Force uniforms.
posted by spunweb at 11:52 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Find out the aircraft or missile system he works with - or one he admires if he's more of an administrative type - and comission a professionally built model with a small inscription to honor the rank attached to the display base. Here's one professional model builder.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:00 PM on June 18, 2012

Response by poster: I like the Build-A-Bear idea. Here is the "Air Force Hero" bear. Any ideas about how the bear could put on Major? I'm not sure what's possible and/or legal in terms of giving him little bear insignia.
posted by TrixieRamble at 12:17 PM on June 18, 2012

You could probably make something to be the ranks. Here are the ranks, listed out with pictures.
posted by xingcat at 12:30 PM on June 18, 2012

If there's an Army Surplus store near you, I bet you can get the rank there. There should actually be someone there who can do the sewing for you.

Maybe Build the Bear yourself, and add the rank to the uniform?
posted by spunweb at 12:38 PM on June 18, 2012

Best answer: If you have any Armed Forces uniform shop, the Gold Oak Leaf insignia is universal to the US Armed forces for O-4 (Officer's Rank 4, but just say "oh-four" or "Major" and anyone with a military experience knows what you mean), so don't restrict yourself to USAF resources.

I like the stop-motion video idea, and you could add one detail that comes to mind. This smacks of hazing to some, but sometimes, in some places, it's tradition among peers to pin the rank onto the officer without the device on the back, and then slam one's fist on the insignia, which naturally jabs the promotee with the pins on the insignia. I experienced this in JROTC in HS, and it does break the skin and draw blood, but it's a harmless wound.

As for legal restrictions, it's against the law for a person to impersonate a officer-- that doesn't mean your halloween costume is against the law, unless you try it out at your local military base. At a formal dinner, I have seen a fifth of Jack Daniels issued a temporary Navy commission so that Ensign Daniels could attend the dinner to which the bringing of outside liquor was prohibited. Don't hesitate to pin a bear with the Oak Leaf over legal fears.

(Ensign Daniels was laid to rest that evening with full honors, and we drank to his memory.)
posted by Sunburnt at 1:00 PM on June 18, 2012 [9 favorites]

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