Erin teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in Political Science, Public Policy, and Public Administration and has a PhD in Political Science.
General Orders for the Navy: An Introduction
Imagine you have decided to join the Navy. What can you expect from basic training? One important part of your training is understanding and memorizing the 11 General Orders, which explain exactly what you will be expected to do when you are standing guard as a sentry. A sentry is a person who guards a particular location. For example, sentries guard the deck of a ship, docks, airplane hangars, and military bases. When you serve sentry duty, you must remain alert and observant, obeying orders without distraction until you are relieved from the post by the next sentry.
General orders apply to all sentries, no matter where he or she serves, and explain the proper behavior for a sentry. Guard duty involves standing at attention and focusing on observing potential threats in a given area for a predetermined period of time. It is important to know these general orders backwards and forwards in order to react immediately to any issues that might arise. For this reason, all new recruits must memorize these orders and recite them whenever asked by a commanding officer.
Purpose of General Orders
General orders are constant and apply to all sentries, regardless of the situation. In contrast, special orders are specific to the time and place of a given sentry duty. General orders describe how to stand sentry, whereas special orders identify, for example, who the commanding officer will be at a given post. It is important to know the chain of command for each sentry post, as it may affect how you carry out the general orders while on duty. The chain of command explains the order of authority from the President of the United States down to the newest recruit.
11 General Orders of the Navy
The 11 General Orders of the Navy, which all recruits must learn, include the following italicized points. A description of each is given to help you understand these orders, summarized from Chapter 3 of Nonresident Training Courses.
- 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, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the Watch only.
- To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
- To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
- To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
- To salute all officers and 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.
All sentries have special orders which define that particular posting, and the general orders identify what all sentries must do, no matter where he or she is assigned. Combined, these orders give sentries the authority to protect a specific post. For example, it may be necessary to arrest someone involved in a crime in a specific area or to fire a weapon to protect human lives or government property.
While on duty, sentries are expected to remain vigilant and professional. Sentries pass orders along from one posting to the next, including all orders from commanding officers, and remain on duty until the next sentry is there to take his or her place. They must avoid distractions, sound an alarm if needed, ask for clarification of duties, to respect the chain of authority, and to be extra vigilant when faced with difficult circumstances such as night duty or a person involved in a crime.
The 11 General Orders of the Navy are the general orders that all sentries must obey while on duty. They describe how to stand guard and are supplemented by special orders for a given posting. All recruits must learn these orders as part of basic training.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack