Eleven General Orders Of The Sentry

General Orders: Standing Watch in the Navy


 © The Balance, 2018

In the Navy and Marine Corps, there are eleven General Orders of a Sentry - also known of General Orders of the Watch. The Army and Air Force have condensed these eleven orders into three. These are the rules the gate guards, duty officers, and officers of the watch must abide by when on guard duty. Their job is to protect the base or area on the base where people and property reside. Failing to adhere to these standards can cause big problems for you as an individual or worse cause grave damage to people or property.

The Eleven General Orders of a Sentry as listed in the Navy's DEP (Delayed Enlistment Program) study guide are below and are ingrained into the recruit’s memory by repetition reciting of them verbatim while attending boot camp. You will be required to quote any one of, or all of your Eleven General Orders of the Sentry from memory anytime, anywhere and to anyone, when you join the Navy. It is best that you learn the Eleven General Orders of a Sentry while you are in DEP prior to your departure for Recruit Training.

This will give you an advantage over others in your division and will provide some valuable time to perform additional required items your first few days in boot camp.

The Navy version below is slightly different than the Marine Corps version (mostly because ranks and titles differ between the Navy and USMC), and a whole lot different than the Army version. Standing duty, standing guard, guarding your post, or standing watch all are terms used by the military to mean that you are the person to hold security for that area for that particular time. Knowing the following eleven general orders will help you stand duty with confidence even on your first time, BUT you have to adhere to the below standards.

You will also hear the following command prior to delivering this information:  

"The Navy General Orders of the Sentry —​ GO!" You Will Then Have to State, Word for Word:

  1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
  2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
  3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
  4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.
  5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
  6. To receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding Officer, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the Watch only.
  1. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
  2. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
  3. To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
  4. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.
  5. To be especially watchful at night, and, during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Preparing for Boot Camp Training

The time to learn these general orders is as soon as possible (ASAP) especially if you are leaving for military training in the near future. Do not wait until you arrive at boot camp until you realize you need to learn these for perfect verbatim memory, while a screaming drill sergeant or chief is looking you squarely in the face, ready to yell at you if you do not answer properly. Take learning these seriously.

Things to Consider About Preparing For Boot Camp:

Navy Fitness Standards: You should start training for the military several months before even if you are an athlete in high school or college. Not training for pushups, situps, and running can lead to failing scores and more attention from the drill instructors. 

Also, learn the ranks of the service you select as well as other services. 

Be on Time: Something you remember forever — If you are early, you are on time. If you are on time you are late. If you are late — well — you do not want to know what can happen to you if you are late. Usually, it is additional attention from the drill instructors doing extra duty or a multitude of push-ups.

Start Waking Up Early: Getting use to a new time to start the day and even in a new time zone can be a shock to the system.  You will get used to it in a week, so it is not overly important. Just be prepared for early mornings mentally.

Don't Forget to Write: Write home and make sure people have your address. Receiving mail at training is a big morale booster. 

And Remember: Everyone has a tough time at boot camp. It will be fun, challenging, and frustrating all at the same time. Go in with the right attitude.