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    News

    Mess Night Gifts

    It was a privilege to work with Combat Logistics Battalion 8 on their recent Battalion Mess Night! This group chose our 30MM A-10 Warthog Shot Glass as their souvenir. They engraved the shot glass with the event name and date. Cheers to an awesome night and thanks for working with us! Check out some pics from the event.

    Have an upcoming military event? Let us help you find the perfect souvenir. Get in touch at info@militaryballs.com for guaranteed lowest pricing!

     

     

    5 Badass Military Gift Ideas

    That special day is coming up—a birthday, a holiday, a career milestone—and you’ve got to find the perfect gift for your man or woman in uniform. The only problem? They’re impossible to shop for!

    We feel your pain. We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled 5 badass gifts any serviceman or woman is sure to love—and you just might make their friends a little jealous too.

    1. 50 Caliber Bullet Bottle Opener

    army gift idea

    As you well know, the 50 Cal BMG is best known for its use in all of the military’s heavy machine guns, as well as a sniper round and for disabling lightly-armored vehicles.

    Some of its more famous starring roles include a 1,765 yard shot by Steve Reichert, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, United States Marine Corps during the Iraq War, and a 2,657 yard shot by Corporal Rob Furlong, 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry during the War in Afghanistan.

    We took the formidable round and turned it into a weapon of another variety, this one best suited for use cracking into your favorite beer.

    1. 30MM A-10 Warthog Shot Glasses

    air force gift ideas

    On February 21, 1991, the second day of ground maneuvers in Operation Desert Storm, two A-10 Warthogs from the 76th TFS of the 23rd TFW scrambled to respond to a column of Iraqi tanks seen on the move.

    Though the tanks tried to scatter or take cover, the Warthogs and their powerful GAU-8/A Avenger seven-barreled cannons were too quick, and ultimately were able to obliterate six tanks in a matter of minutes.

    We took the same type of 30MM shell casings fired by the formidable cannons and expertly crafted them into the perfect vessel for imbibing your favorite spirit. Cheers.

    1. 30MM A-10 Flask

    military gift ideas

    That same 30MM GAU-8 round we mentioned above? Here’s another use for it. We hollowed it out, cleaned and anodized it to turn it into the perfect discreet container for your booze—except this flask is so cool it’ll be tough to keep it tucked away!

    1. .308 Real Bullet Shot Glass

    military gift ideas

    A little history lesson for ya… one of the most popular and widely-used bullets in the world was actually pioneered by the US Army. The .308 was the commercial successor of the 7.62mm NATO cartridge. It was originally requested by the US Army Ordnance Department, who in 1944 asked for a shortened 30-06 cartridge based on the 300 Savage cartridge. The resulting .308 was revealed publicly by the Army in 1951 and formally adopted by NATO in 1954.

    Now for the good stuff. We took the bullet and stuck it right in the side of a hand-blown shot glass that’s practically begging to be filled with some stiff single malt.

    1. Stainless Steel Beer Tanker

    beer tanker

    The 75MM Howitzer reached peak usage during WWII, when it was engineered to serve forces moving quickly across tricky terrain. The gun could be broken down and carried on pack mules, then reassembled by a group of soldiers in under five minutes.

    Our stainless steel tanker combines three awesome components to form one legendary bar fixture: a 75MM replica shell, a genuine 50 Caliber BMG handle and of course, beer—24 ounces to be precise.

    Ready to place your order? Get in touch at info@militaryballs.com for guaranteed lowest pricing for service members, veterans and their families.

    What To Wear To A Military Ball: Guys Edition

    Attending your first military ball is an awesome experience, but can also be a daunting one. We covered do’s and don’ts for what the ladies should wear in this post; now it’s time to tackle attire for the guys.

    Lucky for you, gentlemen, it’s pretty straightforward. I’ll give you the scoop from my own experience attending countless military balls and events, and seeing what NOT to do firsthand.

    1. To Tux or Not To Tux?

    Many guys squirm at the idea of going to a military ball because they think they have to wear a tux. I will tell you from experience that you certainly CAN wear a tux, but it’s not a requirement. A nice, dark suit with a tie will do just fine.

    I suggest a dark-colored suit (like black, navy or charcoal) because it tends to look a little more formal than a light-colored one. Also, it’ll look great with your date’s uniform. And don’t skip the tie!

    1. Size

    Listen, guys. I know lots of you aren’t getting dressed up for fancy events that require a suit on a regular basis. There’s a good chance the suit hanging in your closet is 5 or 10 years old.

    Styles and trends change a lot in that amount of time, and if you wear an old suit, the cut can make it look outdated. Not to mention if you’ve gained or lost a few pounds over the last few years; if you’ve gained weight your suit is going to be bulging at the buttons, and if you’ve lost weight you’re going to look like a little kid dressing up in clothes!

    Do yourself a favor and opt for a nice, new set of slacks and a jacket. It doesn’t have to be from some fancy designer. A department store suit will work just fine, as long as it’s a good color and FITS.

    1. Shoes

    Your shoes complete your classy military ball look. Whatever you do, don’t wear sneakers!

    Stick with  nice pair of dress shoes that complement your suit. Here’s a basic color pairing guide:

    Black suit – Black shoes

    Navy suit – Black or brown shoes

    Charcoal suit – Black or “burgundy” shoes

    1. Piercings, tattoos and facial hair

    If you have piercings and tattoos, do you need to take them out/cover them up? This one requires you to use a bit of discretion and talk with your date about what’s acceptable. In some units, it’s perfectly commonplace for dates to leave their piercings in, while others will balk at things like gauged earrings. It’s the same way for tattoos.

    As for facial hair, groom that sh*t! Don’t arrive at the ball looking like a scruffy mess. Your goal is to look classy and help your date look good in front of their boss.

    One more note: if you’re attending as a date and also happen to be in the military, by all means, wear your uniform. Just make sure it’s the correct uniform for the function.

    What To Wear To a Military Ball: Ladies Edition

    The guys have it easy: either they’re the service member and they’re wearing their dress uniform, or they’re the date and they’re in a nice suit or tux. They barely have to use any brain cells to figure out what to wear, but for the ladies, there’s a lot more effort involved!

    The bottom line is you want to look classy, not trashy. You should wear what you feel confident in, but remember this: this isn’t some Hollywood awards show. If people are gawking because of what you’re wearing, or if you’re risking a wardrobe malfunction with every move, you’re doing it wrong.

    1. Gown length

    There’s and easy rule of thumb to make sure the length of your gown isn’t an issue: keep it below the knee. Floor-length is the most popular military ball gown length and your safest bet—and let’s be honest, how many chances do you get to wear a floor length gown, other than your own wedding? Take advantage of it!

    Below-the-knee or tea length is also perfectly acceptable. Can you wear a dress that’s above the knee? Sure. Are people going to talk about it? It’s a strong possibility. If you’re afraid to bend over for fear of giving your own private show, you’ll want to pick a different gown.

    1. Color

    Some dates like to go matchy-matchy with their service member’s uniform and choose navy, red, black or cream for their dress color. This admittedly looks nice in photos and keeps your dress worries to a minimum, but it’s certainly not a requirement.

    Any solid color (EXCLUDING neon) is a safe bet. Jewel tones, like emerald, magenta and royal blue, look great and complement most skin tones. Metallic neutrals like gold, silver and bronze are also classy and look chic with simple accessories.

    1. Pattern

    A unique pattern is a great way to make a bold statement without looking tacky, but it’s also a fine line between looking good and looking garish. There are lots of gorgeous gowns in classic patterns like floral, lace and watercolor. Save louder patterns for your bathroom wallpaper.

    1. Shoes

    Your shoes complete your ensemble, but remember—you’re going to be on your feet a lot of the night. There’s the standing portion of the ceremony, moving through the receiving line, and of course tons of dancing.

    Pick a pair you’ll feel comfortable moving around in and one that’s not going to turn your feet into a blistery disaster before the clock strikes midnight.

    Pro-tip: pack a pair of comfy flats for the after party!

    1. Attire on a Budget

    On a military budget, spending hundreds of dollars on a gown is often out of the question. Lucky for us there’s the internet, and a ton of amazing, classy options at bargain prices.

    Craigslist has some awesome listings come military ball season, many of which have been worn only once (and a good tailor can work wonders making a second-hand dress look like new).

    If you’re dying for a designer label, Rent the Runway has one-of-a-kind gowns that are yours for one night only at a fraction of the price.

    Finally, a classic black gown may be the best investment ever. You can wear it year after year and switch up your look by changing your hair, shoes and accessories, and no one will know (or care) that it’s the same dress you sported the year before.

    Stay tuned for our next installment: what to wear for the guys!

    Military Ball Fundraiser Ideas

    You didn’t think the government just comes along and foots the bill for military balls, did you? You’ve got to know better than that!

    Like any other major event, military balls are paid for through ticket sales. If a service member wants to attend the ball, they must buy a ticket for themselves and their guest. And guess what—those tickets aren’t cheap.

    Military ball tickets are sold on a sliding scale depending on pay level, but they’re still quite a hefty investment. Not to mention the up-front costs involved with putting on the ball itself.

    Here are a few tried and true ideas to raise money for your military ball or to help defray the cost of tickets for service members.

    1. Sell customized merchandise

    At MilitaryBalls.com we specialize in awesome customized products like bottle openers, shot glasses, glassware and more that military units love.

    Navy Gifts

    Take your pick from our line of gear for the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines and customize it with your unit number or your favorite saying. Then, sell the custom item at a markup to friends and family members who want to show their support. These items also go over well with churches and community groups.

    We offer guaranteed best pricing on our military fundraiser items, so you can get the most for your money and raise as much as possible. We’re happy to help you pick out the perfect fundraiser item—just get in touch.

    1. Host a cookout

    When the weather heats up, get the community together for a benefit barbeque and ask for a recommended per-plate donation.

    Local businesses are often more than willing to step up food, equipment or free advertising to help you out in exchange for their name on a sponsor banner.

    Heads up—some branches have specific requirements for events where you’re serving food. Check first to make sure you’re not going to get in hot water.

    1. Make them run for it

    We’re more comfortable on the couch, but for some reason people seem to love 5K races. Get in on the action and raise some money for your unit by holding one of your own.

    Start promoting your race among local running groups and athletic stores about a month or two ahead. Charge an entry fee for each runner, and reserve a portion of the money for prizes to be awarded in different categories (women and men aged 20-29, 30-39, and so on).

    1. Hose yourselves down

    Now I can only speak for Marines, but we look pretty damn good in wet t-shirts if I do say so myself. Take advantage of your assets and hold a car wash for a good cause.

    The great thing about car washes is they’re the easiest way in the book to raise money. Once you’ve lined up a business to let you use their parking lot and water hookup, all you need is some soap, sponges and signs and you’ve got yourself a fundraiser.

    1. Stick it to your CO

    Your commanding officer is always busting your chops—this is your chance to stick it to him under the guise of raising some much needed cash.

    Set a lofty goal, say $2,500, and get your CO to take a jump in a freezing lake if you hit the mark with contributions from friends of the unit. Or, sell raffle tickets at an event like a cookout. People who buy in at $100 or more get to throw a pie in the CO’s face.

    Sometimes military ball fundraising can be so, so sweet.

    1. Hold a silent auction

    We don’t just make event souvenirs. We also have some awesome bigger ticket items like our Rotating A-10 Gatling Gun Bar Set that make great silent auction items.

    Whether you need one auction gift or a dozen, we’ll make sure you’ve got the lowest pricing available so you can maximize the amount you make from your auction.

    1. Get into the holiday spirit

    People are always feeling more giving around holidays. Capitalize on the season by creating and selling holiday ornaments or gifts customized for your unit.

    Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are two more great options. Your unit can come up with a creative gift, like a “Dad of the Year” T-shirt that can serve as a fundraiser item. One of the funniest examples I ever saw was a baby t-shirt that said “Made by a Marine with Love.”

    1. Pony up your old stuff

    Don’t try to pretend like your garage isn’t full of useless crap you haven’t touched in years. Clean it out (and make the wife happy in the process) and hold a massive unit-wide garage sale.

    The best part of this fundraiser idea is that there’s zero up front cost, aside from maybe printing a few road signs. Everything you make from selling your junk is pure profit to put back into your military ball!