The Responsibilities of a Navy Sailor


Great responsibility is given to a Navy sailor as early as boot camp. He learns to stand sentry watch, responsible for all that happens within his area. The Eleven General Orders of a Sentry shape an understanding of what it means to be a U.S. Navy sailor, responsible for millions of dollars' worth of equipment and many lives. Whether a sailor is in boot camp, on a first cruise or finishing a 30-year career, the General Orders are the guidelines for understanding his responsibilities.


  • A Navy sailor must be ready at all times to step up and assume leadership, as an essential element of fulfilling her most basic responsibility: to defend the United States. When she has been given a task to do, it becomes her responsibility to see that it is fulfilled. She cannot assume that another will do so.

Attention to Detail

  • A sailor cannot drift through his time in the Navy. Attention to the smallest detail may mean the difference between the success or failure of a mission, and between life and death.

Integrity and Impartiality

  • A Navy sailor cannot play favorites or enforce the rules with any less than full integrity and impartiality. Allowing some sailors to slack off on some rules will surely cause problems down the road.

No Quitting

  • A Navy sailor learns early that there must be no “quit” in the simple tasks. This prepares her to never give up, even in the face of possible death, in the performance of her duties.

Team Effort

  • A sailor is part of a team that is much greater than he is. Just as there are people above him that he is responsible to, there are people below him that he is responsible for. It is his responsibility to fit into that team with the greatest degree of coordination and communication.

Understanding Limitations

  • A sailor has the responsibility to handle what she can handle, and to turn over what she cannot handle to the proper chain of command. Learning the difference between the two is an important part of advancing in rate.

Honoring Customs

  • A sailor is responsible for knowing the customs and ways of the Navy, and giving them full honor and respect. Knowing why something is done is as important as doing it, so developing an understanding of the reasons for various customs and practices is among the responsibilities of every Navy sailor.

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