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LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Describe the purpose of the Standard Organization and Regulations of the U.S. Navy OPNAVINST 3120.32, and also explain the general regulations according to OPNAVINST 3120.32.

The Standard Organization and Regulations of the U.S. Navy (SORM), OPNAVINST 3120.32, is applicable to all members of the U.S. Navy. Its purpose is to issue regulations and guidance governing the conduct of all members of the U.S. Navy. The regulations included in the manual are not intended to contradict or supersede any provision of Navy Regulations.

As an MA, you should know and understand the contents of the SORM as it provides guidance in performing the duties of the MA, defines U.S. Navy and unit organization, and outlines regulations that you may be responsible for enforcing. This chapter only discusses the regulations. The material in the SORM that is printed in italicized type is regulatory and applies to each member of the U.S. Navy. Violation of any provision of these regulations is punishable under the UCMJ. The material printed in plain type in the SORM is for the guidance of commanders, COs, and officers in charge (OICs).


As an MA, you may be tasked with the responsibility for posting watches/sentries and/or have various watches/sentries reporting to you. You will be required to have a thorough knowledge of the duties of watches, understand the watchstanding principles and regulations of those watches that you have posted, or those that are reporting to you.

No person, while on duty as a member of a patrol or as a sentry, should fail to report all violations of the unit's regulations, unit's directives, and other breaches of good order and discipline; or, observing a violation of regulations or of good order and discipline, fail to exert himself or herself to the utmost to suppress such violations; or fail to report any violation of safety precautions or safety regulations known to him or her that he or she may observe; or observing such violations, fail to exert himself or herself to the utmost to suppress such violations and other malpractice that may endanger the safety or security of a naval unit and its personnel.

A watch stander assigned a watch will be responsible for the proper performance of all duties prescribed for the watch. Personnel on watch under that watch stander will be subject to his or her orders. The watch stander will instruct subordinates as may be necessary and will endeavor to foresee emergency situations that may arise and prepare to take appropriate remedial actions. The watch stander will remain alert and will require subordinates, if any, to be attentive and ready for contingencies.

Orders or reports will be issued in the customary phraseology of the service.

The watch stander will promptly inform appropriate persons of matters pertaining to the watch of which they should be aware.

Before relieving, the watch stander will become thoroughly acquainted with all matters of which he or she should be aware to properly perform the duties. The watch stander may decline to relieve the previous watch should any circumstances or situations exist that, in the reliever's opinion, justify such action. The facts will be reported immediately to the appropriate authority and instructions will be requested.

The watch stander will not leave his or her post until properly relieved or secured by appropriate authority.


The proper functioning of the watch organization can be ensured only if all watch standers adhere to the following watchstanding principles:

. Watch standers will receive indoctrination and training to provide the requisite qualifications to perform the duties and functions to be carried out at the assigned watch station before being assigned to the watch. 

. Watch standers will devote their full attention to the proper execution of the duties and responsibilities of the assigned watch station. 

. Watch standers will frequently review all emergency procedures applicable to their assigned watch station so that they will be ready to execute emergency procedures without delay. 

. Watch standers will not leave their assigned watch station unless properly relieved or when ordered by the OIC of the watch station. 

. Throughout the course of the watch, watch standers will know to whom in the watch organization they report and all watch standers who report to them. 

. While on watch, watch standers will not be assigned or assume any duties that may distract their attention from the proper execution of the duties to be carried out at the watch station. 

. All watch standers authorized to carry arms should be instructed on the orders to sentries and the circumstances under which a weapon may be fired. Orders to sentries and the conditions under which armed watch standers are authorized to fire their weapons are set forth in the SORM. Watches requiring the carrying of arms will be assigned only to persons who have been trained in familiarization and actual firing of the weapon assigned.


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