We all learned the three General Orders while we were at basic training, and had to recite them verbatim. I know I was relieved that it was those three, as opposed to the eleven that the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard use. Learning stuff at Basic Training can resemble putting your mouth up to a fire hose, and some of the attention to detail related things seem pointless. Then you realize that building good habits and paying attention to detail on the tiniest things, will translate over into doing the same with the bigger things, especially when you become a leader and/or deploy overseas.
I thought it would be beneficial to review the three General Orders and discuss why they are important.
1st General Order: “I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.”
Whether your post is 5 square feet of space outside the CQ office or one of the gates to a FOB in Afghanistan, this General Order makes you aware of how important it is to not only guard everything within the limits of your post, but to not stop doing your job until your relief shows up. This means no distractions, no quitting!
2nd General Order: “I will obey my special orders and perform all my duties in a military manner. “
The General Orders are just that, general. There will always be special orders for each duty from the commander that pertain specifically to where you are and what you are doing. It is imperative to follow these rules, and if you don’t understand them, then ask for clarification. Performing your duty in a military manner is a fundamental task that you should understand by the time you are done with basic training. We are an organization that is instilled with discipline and competence, and we need to always remember that.
3rd General Order: “I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions, to the commander of the relief.”
This is also a simple order to follow. If anything happens that doesn’t fall within normal limits, or wasn’t covered, then report it! I believe this is similar to knowing Commander’s Critical Information Requirements (CCIR) – PIR, FFIR and EEFI.
Bottom line: I believe the General Orders, while simple, are fundamental to being a Soldier and are important to understand in regards to how we complete our duties. What do you think?