11 General Orders Of The Marine Corps

As a sentry, these 11 General Orders are important rules that will guide you as a guard on duty in the United States Marine Corps.

As a Marine on Duty, these 11 General Orders will serve as your guide as they contain every possible scenario you may encounter while on duty.

To ensure the safety of yourself and those around you, you must learn and memorize these 11 General Orders.

As a recruit, it is paramount that you memorize these general orders as you will be tested and expected to know them at any given time!

You will learn and memorize them in basic training, but memorizing them beforehand is better!

Use this list as your guide and prepare yourself for Marine Corps Boot Camp!

Marine Corps General Orders

What Are Marine Corps General Orders?

The 11 General Orders are a set of rules that will guide the sentry and officers on duty in the Marine Corps.

They outline a very specific set of rules and guidelines.

All possible scenarios a guard on duty might encounter are outlined in these 11 General Orders and they describe the proper conduct you must hold yourself to while on duty.

All branches of the military have their own specific set of General Orders.

As a recruit, you are expected to memorize these 11 General Orders and recite them at any given time when instructed by a Drill Instructor or Officer.

Failure to do so will result in extra attention from your Drill Instructors and trust me, you don’t want that!

These General Orders must be recited verbatim when instructed to do so which is why it would behoove you to learn and memorize them before you even leave for basic training!

These 11 General Orders are used for only the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.

The Army and Air Force have their own set of General Orders.

Why Should You Memorize These USMC General Orders?

It is important to memorize these 11 General Orders because they will guide you through your military career, however long that may be, any time you are standing guard.

They will serve as your outline and cover every possible scenario you will encounter as a sentry of officer on guard.

In basic training and in the fleet Marine force, you will stand guard regularly.

Often referred to as “fire watch” or “duty”, you will stand guard at various locations such as:

  • Barracks
  • Squad Bay (in boot camp)
  • Battalion headquarters

These are only a few examples of areas you will stand guard or duty during your time in the Marine Corps.

What Does Standing Guard Mean?

Marine Preparing for Duty
Marine Preparing for Duty

In the Marine Corps, someone is always awake standing guard while Marines are asleep.

This might sound weird or confusing, but it is for an extra layer of security and protection.

Think about your neighborhood for a second.

At night while everyone’s asleep a lot of things can happen or go wrong without anyone even knowing!

Your cars or homes can be broken into, a fire can start, or any other threat can occur, under the radar, while you’re asleep.

In the Marine Corps, someone is always on guard for reasons such as this.

As a recruit, you will stand “fire watch” often.

While recruits are asleep, someone must stand guard.

Typically two Marines, one at each end of the squad bay, will stand fire watch on one-hour rotations.

You’d better know your Marine Corps General Orders while on duty.

If a drill instructor comes on deck or asks you what your 5th general order is and you don’t know it you will pay in the form of calisthenics on the quarter deck and more fire watch!

In the Fleet Marine Corps, fire watch will still exist, but also what we Marines call “Duty.”

Duty is typically a 24-hour post where you’ll stand guard at your barracks or unit headquarters.

When I was in the Marine Corps, my unit made us wear our Charlie Dress Uniform, or “Chucks” and it was a non-sleeping post (even though there were two of us) for 24 hours and we sometimes still had to go to work the next day!

11 General Orders of the Marine Corps

  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, an officer of the day, officers, and non-commissioned officers of the guard only
  7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty
  8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder
  9. To call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions
  10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased
  11. 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

Things To Remember

As you prepare yourself for Marine Corps recruit training, it is imperative that you understand the importance of these 11 general orders.

You will be required to have these memorized for the entire duration of your Marine Corps career, whether it’s four years or thirty.

They will serve as your guide while on guard duty and will be a resource you will refer to for any situation or scenario your may encounter.

It is your responsibility to uphold your duties as a guardsman and carry yourself in a military manner.

Use this guide as a training resource as you prepare yourself for boot camp!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Semper Fidelis,

Sergeant (Marine Corps Veteran)
For The Corps

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