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Interior Guard Duty



             An interior guard system is installed by commanders of all military installations to preserve, protect and enforce military regulations. Security is part of the commander’s responsibility. Therefore, he prescribes the composition of the interior guard system. Separate units are responsible for posting interior guards in their areas. 

             The elements of the interior guard system are classified according to their purposes. They include the main guards and special guards. The latter category consists of park, train, boat guards and others detailed for specific purposes. Generally, the interior guard consists of a system of patrols and fixed posts. 

              Normally, the interior guard system is composed of the following. The Field Officer of the Day (FOD); Officer of the Day; Commander of the Guards; Sergeants of the Guard; Relief Commander; Sentinels of the Guards. The number of sentinels needed for routine daytime duty is ordinarily much smaller than the number required at night or on Sundays and holidays.



            a. One (1) Field Officer of the Day (FOD) – a field grade officer detailed as FOD is the commanding officer’s personal representative. His primary concern is the proper supervision in the performance of duty of the interior guards.

             b. One (1) Officer of the Day (OD) – the OD is responsible for the proper performance of duty by the main guards. He is charged with executing all orders of the commanding officer relating to interior guard duty.

            c. One (1) or More Commander of the Guard (COG) – he is responsible for the instruction, discipline, and performance of the guards. Being senior in rank, the commander of the guards is responsible for the proper action in case of emergency.

             d. One (1) or More Sergeant of the Guard (SOG) – the SOG is the overall supervisor over the other NCOs (Non Commissioned Officer) and sentinels of the guards. He takes over as commander of the guards in case no one else is detailed as such.

              e. A Relief Commander for Each Relief -   the relief commander instructs members of his relief as to their orders and duties, and makes certain that each sentinel understands them. He also familiarizes himself with the special duties of members of his relief.

              f.  Sentinels of the Guards – they must memorize, understand, and comply with the general orders for sentinels. In addition, they must understand and comply with the special orders applicable to their particular posts, including the use of counter – signs, if they are in effect.



                Sentinels of the guards are governed by both general and special orders. General orders apply to all sentinels, while special orders apply to particular posts and duties. These special orders may also contain instructions on the use of signs and countersigns. Herein below are the eleven General Orders for sentinels.


GO Nr. 1 – To take charge of this post and all government property within view.

GO Nr. 2 – To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

GO Nr. 3 – To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

GO Nr. 4 – To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.

GO Nr. 5 – To quit my post only when properly relieved.

GO Nr. 6 – To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentinel who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officer and non-commissioned officers of the guard only.

GO Nr. 7 – To talk to no one except in the line of duty.

GO Nr. 8 – To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

GO Nr.  9 – To call the commander of the guard in any case not covered by instructions.

GO Nr. 10 – To salute all officers, and all colors and standards not cased.

GO Nr. 11 – 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.



             1. After the commander of the guard commands “Post Your Relief,” salutes are exchanged. The commander of the new relief takes charge of his relief, and commands “Right-Face; Right Shoulder Arms, Forward, March.” He marches to the left of the rear rank, while the commander of the old relief marches on the right of the leading rank.

            2. On reaching the sentinel’s post, the commander of the new relief commands “Transmit Your Orders” and the old sentinel transmit changes in orders or by stating “Post and Order Remain the Same.” The relief commander then questions the new sentinel, “Do you understand your orders?” If the new sentinel understands, he replies “Yes, I do.” Otherwise, the new relief commander clarifies the orders.

            3. The new relief commander commands “Sentinel Post.” Both the old and new sentinels resume right shoulder or sling arms, face the new relief commander and march backward until they are in line with the old relief commander.

            4. The new relief commander commands his relief “Forward, March.” The old relief commander takes one step backward to clear the old sentinel. The relief advances and the relief commanders take their original positions as it passes them.

             5. After this, the old sentinel takes his place at the rear of the relief as it passes him, while the new sentinel stands fast until the relief has passed six (6) steps beyond him and then he walks his post.

             6. The procedure outlined above is observed until the last member of the old relief has joined his group enroute to the guard house.



             1. Before the new guards arrive in the guard house, the old guards have already been formed on time by the old commander. The new guards march to the guard house for informal guard mounting

            2. When the new guards are about six steps from the left flank of the old guards, the new commander of the guards commands “Eyes Right.” Almost at the same time, the commander of the old guards faces about and commands “Present Arms.” They remain in this position until the new guards have cleared their right flank. The old commander commands “Order Arms.”

            3. As soon as the new guards have cleared the right flank, the new commander commands “Ready, Front.” The new guards execute right flank and halts when they are approximately six steps to the right of the old guards. The commander then commands “Order, Arms,” and “About face.”

            4. Both commanders of the guards, positioned six steps in front and centered on their respective groups, face about and command “Present Arms.” After that, they face each other and exchange salutes. They then face their guards and command “Order Arms.”

              5. After the new guards have been presented to the commander of the guards, the new and old officers of the day position themselves eighteen (18) steps in front of the old guard and centered on their respective guards. Both commanders of the guards face about and command “Present Arms.” After which they face back to the front and salute their respective officers of the day.

              6. After salutes have been exchanged, both commanders face about, commands “Order Arms,” and face back to the front. The two officers of the day then face each other and exchange salutes which starts with the new OD rendering salute to the old OD. They then face their respective guards.

                7. The new OD commands “Post the first relief,” after which the first relief commander salutes the new OD, faces about, and commands “Fall Out.” The guards report to the guard house and the first relief commander reports to the commander of the guards for instructions on posting his relief.

                8.Meanwhile, the old OD commands “Dismiss the Guards.” The old commander of the guards salutes the old OD, faces about, and command “Rest.” He then contacts the new commander of the guards to convey instructions and orders. The old guards are then marched off to their company areas. Thus ends informal guard mounting.



                 Signs, visual and audio, and countersigns are as important to guard duty as the firearms used. Countersigns consist of a secret challenge and a password. These are used in combat as well as in garrison. If the countersigns are prescribed, they are devised by the highest headquarters within a zone or area. This authority may, however, be delegated to subordinate units. These units are required to notify higher authority of such an action.

                 The choice of words or sound is made with care. Words are selected that are difficult for the enemy to pronounce, and do not indicate the expected answer. Sounds that Rae distinctive and similar to those heard in the locality are selected over others.

                 When a secret challenge and password are prescribed, the secret challenge is given after the person is advanced to be recognized. When positive identification by the sentinel is established the secret challenge is given in a low tone to prevent it from being heard by others.

                 It can be said now that the primary reason behind the use by sentinels of signs and countersigns is to preclude the unauthorized passage of anyone into the area being guarded. This is one measure designed to prevent possible hostile infiltration.



           Security consciousness can be developed among personnel of a unit through various means. One of these means is the institutionalization of the Security Indoctrination Program which is a part and parcel of the command’s Troop Information and Education Program.

           The subjects incorporated into the Security Indoctrination Program range from espionage to unauthorized disclosure of classified military information. On the subject of physical security, the personnel are oriented toward the attainment of an exemplary physical security set-up for any camp, post or station. Emphasis shall also be given to circulation control procedures whereby every person desiring to have access therein is subjected to certain security processes. This is to ensure that unauthorized access is prevented.

            There are certain aspects of the program that can be educate personnel on ways and means to eliminate the possibility of a hostile infiltration and the entry of propaganda of subversive activities. It is a must that each military personnel be mandated to report to security authorities the suspicious activities of any individual. This is the best antidote against communist subversion.



          Special guards are posted as part of the main guard. When this is impracticable, the commanding officer is authorized to avail of the services of special guards. The employment of special guards, particularly in motor and tank parks, must not be taken for granted.

         Generally, there are four (4) categories of special guards. These are the park, train, boat and stable guards. Park guards are further classified as motor and tank park guards, as has already been mentioned.

         Since these special guards are part of the main guard, their duties and responsibilities are basically the same as the sentinel of the guard. However, they are under a non-commissioned officer with qualifications peculiar to a certain specialty. And again, their special orders include instructions on the conduct of such peculiar duties. For instance, a motor park guard reports the return to the motor park vehicles. The same goes through for train, boat, and stable guards.



             The security for bivouac area does not differ much from that provided to a garrison or a built-up area. The main difference lies on the more rigid attention to details in securing a bivouac area, particularly so when the same is located within a battle zone where active warfare is being conducted. Let us elaborate on this.

             Since a bivouac area is within a battle or combat zone, it is expected or anticipated that a hostile attack might occur anytime without any warning. Under such battlefield condition, the security details for a bivouac area must be wide awake at all times watching for danger signals. Their vigilance and perceptions must all be directed toward thwarting the enemy’s incursions. Once the bivouac area’s security is prejudiced, everything is lost to eternity forever. They say that “Liberty is the price of eternal vigilance.”