Service members in all branches of the U.S. armed forces must abide by the 11 General Orders, which are the military organizations' set of rules for all members serving as sentries. For this reason, the rules are formally known as the 11 General Orders for Sentries, a "sentry" being a guard or on watch. Recruits must not take the rules lightly but must thoroughly learn them.
The 11 General Orders are as follows:
- Take charge of this post and all government property in view
- Walk the post in a military manner, always keeping alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing
- Report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce
- Repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own
- Quit the post only when properly relieved
- Receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day and non-commissioned officers of the guard only
- Talk to no one except in the line of duty
- Give the alarm in case of fire or disorder
- Call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions
- Salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased
- 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.
Recruits must commit these military security rules to memory.