|Excerpt from Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001, Marion F. Sturkey
The eleven General Orders for sentries never change. They constitute the unyielding bedrock upon which
Marines enforce military security in the United States and throughout the world. General Orders dictate
the conduct of all Marines on guard duty. These orders apply to all Marines at all bases and outposts in
time of peace, and in time of war.
Marine recruits in boot camp must memorize these General Orders. Woe be unto the unfortunate recruit
who cannot shout out, verbatim and without hesitation, all eleven of them. Such a recruit will incur a
firestorm of wrath from his Drill Instructor. There is sound logic for this rigid training. The eleven
General Orders will guide each Marine throughout his years in the Corps:
General Orders for Sentries
- To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
- To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes
place within sight or hearing.
- To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
- To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.
- To quit my post only when properly relieved.
- To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer,
field officer of the day, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only.
- To talk to no one except in line of duty.
- To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
- To call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions.
- To salute all officers, and all colors and standards not cased.
- 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.