Army General Orders and More (Army Basic Training)

Army General Orders Are Required Knowledge at Basic Training

Army Basic
Basic Training.

There are many things you should study and do prior to attending Army basic training, and chief among them is simply getting in shape.

But basic training is so much more than just about being fit physically—you need to be mentally prepared to join the U.S. Army.

As a result, it's important to become familiar with the Army's general orders, because they will be a key part of basic training.

Army General Orders

A few examples of general orders in the Army include the Soldier’s CreedArmy General Orders of the SentryCode of Conduct, Army officer and enlisted ranks, and the Army Core Values.

If you can know these prior to Basic Training, you will have a little bit of time to focus on other things like cleaning the barracks, folding laundry, and learning new skills, while those who are unprepared work to memorize the above.

The most important are the General Orders of the Sentry:

  1. I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.
  2. I will obey my special orders and perform all of my duties in a military manner.
  3. I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions to the commander of the relief.

You will be required to know the above three bullet points on the first day of basic training. The good news is that the Army only has three general orders, while the Navy and Marine Corps have 11.

However, when you are enduring Basic Training, you will be asked these three general orders throughout training under increasing pressure from your instructors. 

Here are some more tips to surviving Army Basic Training:

  1. Start getting into shape before you leave. Boot camp is physically intensive. Work especially on running and pushups.
  2. If you know someone who's been in the military, ask him or her to teach you some simple marching and facing movements.
  3. Memorize your particular service's rank structure (both officer and enlisted) before you leave.
  4. Inform your family and friends that it's very important that they write often. Boot camp can be very lonely.
  5. Practice making your bed with "hospital corners."
  6. Don't arrive "standing out in the crowd." Cut your hair short, and wear conservative clothes. You don't want the drill instructors to remember you.
  7. Bring only what is on the list. Anything extra will be confiscated and will give the drill instructor an excuse to chew you out.
  8. Go in with the right attitude. Remember, everyone messes up in boot camp, and everyone gets chewed out. The "real military" won't be this way.
  9. Never, ever make excuses.
  10. Do exactly what you're told to do, when you're told to do it, and how you're told to do it. Don't be inventive.
  11. When speaking to a drill instructor, always stand at rigid attention, eyes locked forward.
  12. Don't volunteer. You're much better off in boot camp if the drill instructor hardly remembers your name. Those who are "remembered" often get "special attention."
  13. If you're "on time," then you're late. Always be where you're supposed to be five minutes early.

Remember, boot camp is mostly a mind-game. It's designed to tear-down your civilian self and replace it with a military soldier (sailor, marine, airman). Read everything you can about the military service you're going into. The more you learn before-hand, the less you'll have to learn in boot camp (where you'll be tested).

And don't forget to work out. Do not think it is the job of the military instructors to get you in shape. If you show up out of shape, you likely will fail the standards or get injured and potentially sent home.

Getting Into Shape

It's a good idea to prepare for basic training early by running, doing calisthenics, lifting weights, and wearing a backpack and walking at a fast pace to prepare for what you will experience throughout training.

A training program should be a progressive regimen that allows a recruit to build a foundation of fitness so they can handle the military running, rucking, and calisthenics that Army basic training provides. It is recommended to build up to training four to five days per week at least, preferably five to six days per week mixing in a variety of your future training.

For example, here is a sample running program for beginners (those who do not currently run or need to lose weight):

Walking Builds Into Running (For Beginners to Running)

Week 1 Walk 30 minutes / stretching entire body daily (monitor weight loss*)
Week 2 Run 1 minute / Walk 1-2 minutes for 30 minutes (or use non-impact cardio options)
Week 3 Run 1 minute / Walk 1 minute for 30 minutes (listen to your body as injuries occur this week**)
Week 4 Run 1:30 / Walk 1:30 | Run 2:00 / Walk 1 minute for 30-40 minutes
Week 5 Run 2:30 / Walk 1:00 | Run 2:00 / Walk 30 seconds for 30-40 minutes
Week 6 Run 3 minutes / Walk 1:30 for 45 minutes
Week 7 Run 1 mile / try non-stop / walk 1 mile fast
Week 8 Run/walk combo 2.5 miles (from weeks 8-10 – try to run as much as you can)
Week 9 Run/walk combo 2.75 miles
Week 10 Run/walk combo 3 miles

Note: If you are currently running, this workout will be too easy and you should adopt a more stringent routine to ace the two-mile timed run event as the rucking at basic training.