This year, Father’s Day falls on June 19. And if your dear old dad happens to be a service member or a veteran, he’s likely not one for traditional gifts like fuzzy slippers or whiskey stones. Here are some ideas that your salty pop can actually appreciate.

  1. A pre-seasoned coffee mug. No proud veteran wants to drink his joe out of a clean cup. Get it nice and grimy and caked with a thick layer of coffee grinds before gifting it.
  2. Silkies. This is one that your dad AND mom can appreciate. It doesn’t matter his age or the waning number of leg days he does at the gym — ranger panties are timeless. Let him sun those gams.
  3. Another pair of Ray Ban aviators. Does he already have a dozen? Who cares. He can never own too many pairs of sunglasses, especially when he’s letting them roast in his car, forgetting them in the bathroom sink, or losing them while they sit on his head.
  4. Socks and underwear. Sure, he probably has a drawer full of these already. But rolling them gives him something fun to do in retirement, plus it’ll let him reminisce on his time in the service.
  5. Golf tees with his service branch crest. Before your father retired from the military, he talked a lot about how much golf he was going to play. Does he actually rise for tee time? No? Gifting him golf tees he’ll probably never use will remind him to go out there, or he’ll realize his failed dreams of being the next Arnold Palmer.
  6. M*A*S*H DVD Box Set. There is nothing that old veteran dads like more than watching shows and movies about other older veterans. M*A*S*H is a classic, and your dad probably has a little man crush on Alan Alda that goes back four-and-half decades.
  7. Another goddamn retirement hat. He has an entire hat rack filled with baseball caps that say “(fill in branch) Veteran.” But he’s always happy to get another one that he’ll never wear. Seriously, he’s never even taken the tags off any of them.
  8. A gift card to Olive Garden. For his 20+ years of service and being a stellar father, give your dad the gift that keeps on giving … unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. It’ll probably remind him of his time breaking bread at the DFAC.
  9. Reveille. Wake your dear old dad up at the crack of dawn on Father’s Day with a startling bugle call. It’ll make him feel young again. If you’re feeling extra generous, you can serve him breakfast in bed afterwards.
Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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