When on interior guard duty, there are 11 general orders that never change. Marines are required to know them.
To take charge of this post and all government property in view. While on duty, the sentry has authority over all persons on the post and everything within those post limits. If there are unusual or suspicious circumstances occurring, the sentry reports immediately to the corporal of the guard. The sentry has the authority to hold and detain all persons on or near the post whose actions or presence are suspicious. The sentry is required to apprehend any person or persons who are discovered committing a crime or violating regulations and turn them over to the corporal of the guard. There are certain specific conditions in which the firing of a weapon at another person by a century is considered justified. These must be within the guidelines of the specific conditions, however.
To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing. Special orders detail the manner in which a sentry will walk, stand, ride or sit the post and carry a weapon. This is dependent upon the type of post and the specific duties involved. However, sentries will always conduct themselves in a military manner, remaining vigilant and attentive to their duties.
To report all violations of orders on aim instructed to enforce. The sentry apprehends and reports all offenders to the corporal of the guard and to any officer or noncommissioned officer of the guard inspecting them at the first opportunity.
To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the courthouse than my own. A sentry receiving a call from a post more distant from the guardhouse than their own, will repeat the call to the next post loudly, clearly, and exactly as received.
To quit my post only when properly relieved. The sentry does not leave their posts for any reason and lasts relieved. This means even when they are not relieved at the end of their tour or at meal time. Instead, they call the corporal of the guard for instructions. A sentry on the last relief of a post leaves at the proper time, returns to the guardhouse, and reports to the corporal of the guard.
To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only. During a sentry’s tour of duty, he is under the orders of the commanding officer, field officer of the day, and officers in noncommissioned officers of the guard only. If there’s an emergency, however, the senior line officer president may give orders to the sentry. A sentry will only give up a weapon and when ordered by a person from whom they lawfully receive orders while on posts. Unless it is necessary, no person will require a sentry to surrender a weapon while that sentry is on post.
To talk to no one except in the line of duty. A sentry is not to carry on long conversations with persons, but can give brief answers to persons making proper inquiries.
To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder. If a fire is present, the sentry calls immediately, “Fire, post number…,” and will sound the alarm if no one is available. The sentry will extinguish the fire if no one else is available and without endangering the performance of his duties. If the sentry cannot, he directs the responding fire personnel to the fire. The sentry notifies the guardhouse of this action as soon as possible.
The sentry notifies corporal to guard if there is a case of disorder. The sentry then takes corrective action. If there’s great danger, the sentry discharges a weapon three times in rapid succession into the air before calling the corporal of the guard and only when authorized by the commanding officer. In time of war, sentries give warning of enemy attacks as directed by the commanding officer.
To call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions. The sentry will call the corporal of the guard for instructions for any situation that is not covered by general or special orders, or on any circumstance in which the sentry is in doubt.
To salute all officers in all colors and standards not cased. Sentries salute as prescribed in Navy regulations, except:
When engaged in a specific duty that would prohibit them from saluting.
When at sling arms with a rifle after challenging or when holding a conversation.
Winning conversation with an officer. He sentry will not enter up the conversation to salute unless the officer salutes a senior. The sentry will also salute.
The sentry armed with a rifle salute by presenting arms. This is only done when halted.
To be especially watchful at night and, during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post into allow no one should pass without proper authority. If a sentry observes a person approaching the post, they will call, “HALT: Who goes there?” While the person is still far enough away for the sentry to take effective measures in case the person rushes the sentry. The sentry may require the party to move as directed and will prompt them to do so. It is a sentry’s job to make positive recognition of all persons claiming the authority to pass. If the sentry is unsatisfied with their answer, the sentry will detain the person and call the corporal of the guard.
The general orders listed above are always used by sentries while on duty and on post.
Guidebook for Marines, 18th Edition. Marine Corps Association. Copyright 2001.