Bill's Vignettes

This is my story. It will consist of little pictures, snippets, or vignettes, from my past. It is a legacy to my children and grandchildren and those that may come after and hopefully will also be of some interest to the casual reader who doesn't know me from Adam.

General Orders

Posted by sundoulos2005 on August 28, 2007

Upon arrival at boot camp each recruit is given, among other things, the “11 General Orders of a Sentry.” He is required to memorize them within the first several days. When we left Camp Barry for Camp Porter to start our training those general orders would be put to good use, for we would then be standing guard duty. The General Orders as they are today (2007) are listed below.

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, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the Watch 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 Officer of the Deck 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.

We stood guard duty wherever our superiors could find a place for us to stand. One of the worst assignments was to guard the laundry room. It was always hot because of the steam lines that passed through there. Four hours in the middle of the night was torture. Sentries were required to stand at parade rest until an officer (in boot camp this was anyone E-6 or above) approached. Then you would snap to attention and salute. We were issued Springfield 30-30 rifles left over from the big war — World War II — 19 pounds of dead weight.

During the first several weeks of basic training any officer would grill the sentry on the General Orders. Miss one and you got to do 25 push-ups. Miss two and the number would double. Any mishap merited push-ups. I once had to do 200. Some officers took delight in torture. Push-ups while holding a rifle in your hands (knuckles against the ground) was excruciatingly painful. Another recruit, caught smoking, was required to do push-ups while smoking four cigarettes.

I survived all that and was the better for it. I sometimes wished I could retalitate against those that made my life miserable but that was out of the question, so I determined I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of knowing I hurt. By the time we moved to our next camp, Camp Moffett, that sort of thing was almost never encountered again.

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