Topic: Drill and Training
Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 19, of 30)
Even though a sentinel be only a private soldier, he is in a position of real dignity and authority. He represents the commanding officer.
Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 19 September 1917
In addition to drilling and fighting as a member of a squad, company, regiment, or other "team" of the army, you will have certain important duties as an individual soldier. These duties call for a higher level of intelligence and self-reliance and throw on you a greater personal responsibility.
In the training camp your company will be required at times to perform guard duty. This means that one or more of your commissioned or non-commissioned officers, and a number of privates will be detailed for this duty. Customarily a detail of this kind continues for 24 hours, from noon of one day to noon of the next, each private takes his turn at standing guard.
Your duties as a sentinel are best expressed in the general orders which every sentinel is required to repeat whenever called upon to do so. Memorize these general orders now and never permit yourself to forget them. Think them over and you will see that they are clear and exact. They are meant to be strictly obeyed.
Duties of Sentinels
My general orders are:
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 report all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.
5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
6. Te receive, obey, and pass on to the sentinel who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only.
7. To talk to no one except in line of duty.
8. In case of fire or disorder to give the alarm.
9. To allow no one to commit a nuisance on or near my post.
10. In any case not covered by instructions to call the corporal of the guard.
11. To salute all officers, and all colors and standards not cased.
12. 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.
Sentinel Must be Obeyed
Even though a sentinel be only a private soldier, he is in a position of real dignity and authority. He represents the commanding officer. He must be respected and the orders he gives as as a sentinel must be strictly obeyed, not only by other soldiers but by officers, whatever their rank.
During the night the sentinel will challenge any person or party who comes near his post, calling out sharply, "Halt. Who is there?" the person challenged, or one of the party if there are several persons, may be permitted to approach for the purpose of giving the countersign or of being recognised. In case of doubt it is a sentinel's duty to prevent any one from passing him and to call the corporal of the guard. A sentinel will never allow himself to be surprised, nor permit two parties to advance on him at the same time.
Scouting Duty Is Important
One of the most responsible duties to which a soldier may be assigned is patrolling or scouting. An infantry patrol usually consists of from 3 to 16 men. It is sent out for the purpose of obtaining information as to the enemy, his numbers, and the nature of the country over which the patrol travels. It is not usually intended that the patrol should fight, since its prime purpose is to obtain and bring back information. However, it may be forced to fight, if discovered, in order to protect the escape of at least one of its members with a report of the information secured.