Updated: Jan 13
I remember standing sentry (or what is called fire watch in boot camp) over 20 years ago as if it were yesterday. At any moment, a drill instructor might quiz you on the orders - "Recruit Appleton. What is your 3rd General Order?" - which demanded a word-for-word response - or else.
Recruits start learning their general orders upon arrival to boot camp. It is paramount that they can memorize and put each order into action. It has been a long time since someone asked me to quote a general order - or has it? I believe that Christ asks us to be ready to respond, scripturally, when confronted with a challenge. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
During boot camp, it can be very stressful when standing sentry for the first time. The drill instructors are always yelling at you to repeat your orders.
Over the weeks of training, the 11 general orders become a natural part of a recruit's vocabulary and way of life. The recruit begins to utilize the proven principles and realize the importance of following orders. Similarly, God has provided us the scriptures, which like the general orders, are evidenced-based - meaning, if you follow them, they will work - every time.
The General Orders are essential rules that guide military members throughout their military careers. They contain evidenced-based directives that include every possible scenario a sentry might encounter on duty and how to ensure their safety and that of others. All recruits need to learn these orders to perform their sentry duties without issues.
Throughout our study, we will reference the following five pertinent points about how the general orders, and biblical references, will ensure our success. The general orders (scriptures) will:
• Train you to be alert always.
• Teach you to follow orders.
• Prevent accidents and safeguard lives and property.
• Maintain order and organization.
• Guide a person's military service.
We will be using the 11 United States Marine Corps General Orders (see below for the other branch orders)
2 Timothy 3:14 "But as for you, continue in the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced [holding tightly to the truths], knowing from whom you learned them, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings (Hebrew Scriptures) which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus [surrendering your entire self to Him and having absolute confidence in His wisdom, power and goodness]. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; 17 so that the [a]man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work."
ORDER #1 To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
Micha 6:8 "No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is that to do what is just, to show constant love, and you live in humble fellowship with our God."
Jeremiah 29:7 "but seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."
Exodus 3:5 5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love."
ORDER #2 To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
James 4:7 "So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you."
Psalm 122:7 "Peace be within your walls and security within your towers."
1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love."
1 Peter 5:8 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
#3 General Order: To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
Matthew 18:15-17 15 "If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 "But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 "If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
Philippians 4:6-7 "...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
Romans 2:11: "for God shows no partiality. So it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body and we all belong to each other."
1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
#4 General Order: To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.
Philippians 4:6-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Isaiah 52:7 "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation."
Isaiah 40:3: "A voice cries out,“In the wilderness clear a way for the Lord; build a level road through the rift valley for our God."
1 Corinthians 11:1 "I praise you because you always remember me and follow the teaching that I have handed on to you."
Matthew 24:6 "...and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet."
Luke 10: "The Lord now chose seventy-two[a] other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. 3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves."
#5 General Order: To quit my post only when properly relieved.
Matthew 25:23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Kings 5:4 "but now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side."
Matthew 11:28: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
#6 General Order: 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 call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.)
John 16:13 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."
1 Peter 3:15 "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."
Psalm 143:10 "You are my God teach me to do your will. Be good to me, and guide me on safe path."
Proverbs 28:2 "When a land transgresses, it has many rulers but with a man of understanding and knowledge, it’s stability will long continue."
Romans 13:1 (-7) "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established."
Revelation 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
#7 General Order: To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
1 Peter 4:11 "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."
Psalm 25:1-2 "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul in you I trust, O my God."
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth."
2 Timothy 2: 15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
#8 General Order: To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleaneth us from all sin."
John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
Joel 2:1 "Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill."
Acts 18:17 "Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in the city."
#9 General Order: To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; firm in the faith; ... be strong."
2 Corinthians 3:17 "...now the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
Hebrews 4:16 "Let is then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Jeremiah 33: 3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
#10 General Order: To salute all officers and colors and standards not cased.
Colors and standards mean the US Flag – Regular flags are called colors, while vehicle flags are often called standards. The colors are saluted when it’s fixed to a staff, mast, or pike (for example, when flown from a flagstaff or carried in a parade.) A flag is considered cased when it’s furled and placed in a protective covering.
Saluting the U.S. Flag. When you’re in uniform and an uncased flag passes by in a parade or any ceremony, you salute when the flag comes within six paces of you and hold the salute until the flag passes six paces beyond you. If in formation, follow the verbal commands of your flight or squadron commander. On the command of “Present Arms,” render a hand salute and hold it until the command “Order Arms.”
If in civilian clothes, under similar circumstances, come to attention, remove your hat (if you’re wearing one), and place your right hand over your heart when the flag is six paces before you; hold until the flag is six paces past you. Also if in civilian clothes service members and veterans are authorized to render the military style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag and during the playing of the national anthem
Matthew 22:36-48 "The great Commandment" 37 Love your God with all you heart with all your soul and with all your mind. 39 Love your neighbor and love yourself."
Titus 3:1 "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.
Romans 13 :7 "Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
Philippians 2: 3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
Hebrews 13 "Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
#11 General Order: 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.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
Hebrews 13:17 "Obey your leaders and follow their orders. They watch over your souls without resting, since they must give to God an account of their service. If you obey them, they will do their work gladly; if not, they will do it with sadness and that would be of no help to you."
Psalm 108:12-13 Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless, With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.
John 14: 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard General Orders of the Sentry
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 own5. 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 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
U.S. Army and Air Force General Orders of the Sentry
In the past, the U.S. Army and Air Force used the same general orders as the U.S. Navy and Marines. Both now use a condensed version with only three basic instructions. They include:
I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.
I will obey my special orders and perform all of my duties in a military manner.
I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies and anything not covered in my instructions to the commander of the relief.