Orders to Sentry is the official title of a set of rules governing sentry (guard or watch) duty in the United States Armed Forces. While any guard posting has rules that may go without saying (“Stay awake,” for instance), these orders are carefully detailed and particularly stressed in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard. Also known as the 11 General Orders, the list is meant to cover any possible scenario a sentry might encounter on duty.
All recruits learn these orders verbatim while at recruit training and are expected to retain the knowledge to use for the remainder of their military careers. It is very common for a drill instructor or (after boot camp) an inspecting officer to ask a question such as, “What is your sixth general order?” and expect an immediate (and correct) reply.