11 Things to Put in a U.S. Air Force Keepsake Box


Do you struggle to know what to do with those sentimental items in your life that you want to keep but don’t need access to every day? 

Some people choose to put such items in a memory box. Your keepsakes, photos, and important papers can be organized by theme. Perhaps the hatbox that belonged to your grandma can hold special items that remind you of your grandparents. The cigar box that you picked up at an antique store can hold the keepsakes you gathered while in college. 

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If you are a veteran (or active duty member) of the U.S. Air Force, thank you for your service. Here are some ideas of items to put in your Air Force keepsake box. 

This article will also assist families who recently lost a loved one who served in the Air Force. Creating an Air Force keepsake box will give you a place to safely store the service memorabilia that are now important treasures of your family. 

What’s an Air Force Keepsake Box?

An Air Force keepsake box is a place to safely store items you gathered while serving in the military. A wooden box with the Air Force insignia would make a lovely gift to honor the veteran in your life. Creating a keepsake box would be a touching way to create a tribute to the memory of someone who died, too. 

Memory boxes would also make a perfect death anniversary gift for a loved one who is missing their Air Force spouse or parent. Surprise them by purchasing the personalized box and gathering the items to place inside. 

Let us help you with the project by giving you ideas for items to place in your keepsake box. We will also give you ideas of online boxes that might be perfect for your project.

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Objects to Put in an Air Force Keepsake Box

Are you unsure about what you would keep in an Air Force keepsake box? Think of the things that you may have stashed around your house from your days in the military. 

They could be pieces of memorabilia that remind you of your travels. They may be items that remind you of lifelong friends you made while serving your country. Your pieces of memorabilia may have been government-issued or might include a pressed flower that you kept from your corsage from an Air Force ball.

Here are some ideas for your (or your loved one’s) keepsake box. 

1. Cap or hat

Your uniform may be hanging in your closet, but perhaps you need a place to store your cap or hat from your Air Force days. Be careful that heavier items don’t crush your hat.

2. Medals or badges

You will want to keep the medals, badges, or challenge coins you earned during your time of service for your children to treasure someday, but where do you keep them? A keepsake or memory box is the perfect place.

2. Dog tags

Your dog tags were a crucial part of your uniform at one point in your life. Why not keep them safely tucked away in your Air Force keepsake box now that you’re retired or no longer serving?

3. U.S. flag

If you’re creating an Air Force memory box for a loved one who passed, you might want to include the flag that was presented to the family at the funeral. If the box is not large enough to hold the item, you could also include the flag patch that was on your loved one’s duty uniform.

4. Photographs

Do you have pictures from your time in the military? Label the back of each photo with an archival-quality pen. Then carefully store your photographs in your keepsake box. Placing loose pictures in a box with other items may not be prudent. 

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5. Souvenirs

Did you see the world while serving your country? Include a few of the keepsakes that you gathered along the way. Your memory box will give you a place to store those things that you don’t want to throw away, but you don’t need to see every day, such as shot glasses or postcards.

6. Letters

Did you receive letters or cards from home when you were in training or during your time of service? You probably cherished that communication back then, and you want to keep that treasured correspondence in a safe place. 

7. Clippings from newspapers or magazines

Your loved ones will one day want to know the extent of your military service. If you have newspaper clippings that relate information about particular battles you participated in, keep them in your memory box.

8. Metal airplanes

What aircraft was important to you during your time of service? Consider placing small models of those planes inside your memory box. 

9. Certificates

Did you receive certificates or other commendations during your time in the military? Carefully store them inside a sturdy cardboard folder before placing them inside your keepsake box.

10. Military I.D.s

If it has been years since you first joined the Air Force, you might get a grin from looking back at your first military I.D. Did you have a baby face? You probably didn’t think you did at the time.

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Where Can You Buy an Air Force Keepsake Box?

Before you buy a box for this project, gather the items you would like to store inside. You’ll be frustrated if you realize that the box won’t hold some of the essential things you would like to store safely. 

Also consider whether or not the box will safely store your belongings, especially if you wish to preserve things that are decades old. Talk with an archive expert to learn the best methods of storing photos, paper, and textiles. 

Consider whether you would like the box to be personalized with your name or rank. Most of the companies that we highlight offer that service.

There are a few keepsake boxes that can be secured with a key. Think about whether you think this is necessary. 

Here are some ideas on where to buy keepsake boxes for yourself or a loved one.


The Air Force Exchange may have just the item that will help you with the project. Of course, the Exchange caters to military members, so you might find one that can be personalized with your rank or role. 

Online retailers

There are a ton of online retailers that sell keepsake boxes. Here are some that can be personalized with the Air Force emblem.


There are several Air Force memory boxes sold on Etsy, but we liked this one in particular. This beautiful wood box with the colorful Air Force medallion can be personalized with the member’s name, rank, and service dates. Carefully consider the box’s size before ordering, as it’s only large enough to hold a few keepsakes.

One retailer also sells a memory box on Etsy that allows you to place a photo on the lid. Again, this box is relatively small, and the frame on the lid is oriented as a landscape. 


There are several options for Air Force keepsake boxes or chests on Amazon, as well. If your search reveals boxes that are too small for your needs, expand your search to Air Force keepsake chests. This chest will certainly hold more treasures than the previous example.

If you plan to store small items, consider purchasing this Air Force pillbox. It is made of metal and has the Air Force insignia engraved on top. Of course, you could also use it to simply store medications instead of memorabilia. 

Things Remembered

Perhaps you would like a decorative box to place on your desk at home or work. Things Remembered offers this beautiful box that can be locked. 


Michaels has a large supply of military display cases and shadow boxes. They offer flag boxes as well. 

Local retailers

Support your local retailers by seeing what items they have available. Check your local trophy and gift shops, especially if you live near an Air Force base. 

Support your local craftspeople as well by hiring an artist to create a custom-made keepsake box for you. By going this route, you’ll be supporting artists in your local community, but you’ll also be able to customize the piece so it’s the perfect size to hold all of your treasures. 

Create an End-of-Life Plan

Military veterans often receive end-of-life benefits, such as a plot in a military cemetery. Of course, you don’t have to utilize those benefits if you would rather be cremated and have your cremated remains scattered at sea. Let your loved one know your preferences by creating an end-of-life plan with Cake.

If you plan to utilize some of your military benefits, make sure your records are in a place that can be easily located. Your loved ones will need your discharge information and military I.D. number, so make sure you leave the location of those documents in your end-of-life plan.

Make things easier on your family by making those arrangements now. You can shop around for the services and products that you’ll eventually need so that you can get the best price. You’ll not only save money, but your loved ones won’t have to make difficult decisions while in the throes of grief. 


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