Table of Contents

Marine Corps Recruit Knowledge is a guidebook to the customs and courtesies of the Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Recruit Knowledge

During recruit training, future Marines will receive a small book known as “Marine Corps Recruit Knowledge”, or as your Drill Instructors will call it, your “knowledge.” This guidebook contains everything recruits will need to know and memorize during recruit training, but it is merely a basic guide. You will receive a lot more information regarding the operational Marine Corps once you reach your MOS training and fleet Marine Corps unit.

Inside your recruit knowledge handbook, you’ll find Marine Corps Rank Structure, customs and courtesies, basic Marine Corps History, Marine Corps Terminology, and more.

Marine Corps Recruit Knowledge | The Basics

11 General Orders of a Sentry

1. Take charge of this post and all government property in view.

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

3. Report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.

5. Quit my post only when properly relieved.

6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding Officer, Officer of the Day, Officers, and Non-Commissioned Officers of the guard only.

7. Talk to no one except in the line of duty.

8. Give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.

9. To call the Corporal of the Guard in any case not covered by instructions.

10. Salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.

11. 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.


US Military Code of Conduct

Article I

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article II

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

Article III

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Article IV

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Article V

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

Article VI

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

14 Leadership Traits

The 14 Marine Corps Leadership Traits are know by the acronym “JJ DID TIE BUCKLE.”

  • Judgement
  • Justice
  • Decisiveness
  • Independence
  • Dependability
  • Tact
  • Integrity
  • Encouragement
  • Bearing
  • Unselfishness
  • Courage
  • Knowledge
  • Loyalty
  • Enthusiasm

11 Leadership Principles

  • Be technically and tactically proficient.
  • Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  • Know your Marines and look out for their welfare.
  • Keep your Marines informed.
  • Set the example.
  • Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished.
  • Train your Marines as a team.
  • Make sound and timely decisions.
  • Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates.
  • Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities.
  • Seek responsibility and accept responsibility for your actions.

Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed

You’ve probably seen a scene in the movie Full Metal Jacket where the recruits recite the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed, although it is not presented in its entirety. In the past, recruits were required to memorize the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed, it’s no longer required and only takes up a short page at the back of your recruit knowledge.

But it’s still good to know.

The Marine Corps Rifle Creed was written by General William H. Rupertus, who earned his distinguished marksman award as part of the Marine Corps rifle team. He was later the commanding General of Marine barracks at San Diego during World War II. He wrote the rifleman’s creed shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 — to encourage expert marksmanship and Marines’ trust in their weapons.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will …

My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit …

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights, and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will …

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!

— Major General William H. Rupertus