As Hurricane Dorian creeps up the East Coast, a Marine Corps Command based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is keeping troops up to date on storm preparation -- and having a bit of fun as well.
A Facebook post from 2nd Marine Division on Tuesday started simply enough, asking followers to comment with any questions about the storm, now a Category 2 hurricane approaching South Carolina, so that the command could answer them.
"Sound off below!" the account's moderator wrote.
The post quickly racked up more than 2,000 comments, many of them asking practical questions about cancellations and school schedules. But others veered into the absurd, and the moderator dutifully answered even the wildest ones as they rolled in.
"Am I authorized to use deadly force on the hurricane?" one user wrote.
The 2nd Marine Division account took it in stride.
"Contrary to popular belief, although Hurricanes have an eye, they are not actually alive. So, we would advise against using deadly force on a massive storm with violent wind," the moderator wrote, helpfully pointing the user to the Marine Corps order describing authorized use of deadly force.
Another user wondered about Dorian's career.
"Dorian was predicted to be a category 1 when it hits Lejeune but now he's going to be a category 2; did he get meritoriously promoted?" she wrote.
"We will have to get back to you on that!" 2nd Marine Division responded. "Considering he has been several other categories, he may have had an eventful week regarding promotion and demotion!"
Yet another popular question worried whether Dorian was meeting Marine Corps fitness standards.
"Dorian seems a little fat and slow," a user wrote. "Will he go on [the Marine Corps Body Composition Program]?"
"We will have to read up on the height and weight standards for a hurricane and get back to you!" 2nd Marine Division fired back.
As the post went viral, getting shared nearly 3,000 times, some began to wonder who was behind the hilarious responses.
The 2nd Marine Division moderator didn't disclose who was at the keyboard, but noted that the division's social media accounts are moderated by Marines with the unit's Communication Strategy and Operations office, which also handles public affairs and media queries.
"If you may be interested in joining the CommStrat community, talk to your career planner or your local Marine recruiter!" the admin added.
An email query to 2nd Marine Division about the viral post did not receive an immediate response.
Camp Lejeune, on North Carolina's inner banks, has not ordered mandatory evacuations, but has encouraged all residents to heed local safety alerts, closed Onslow Beach on base, and opened shelters to those who might be displaced by the storm.
"It is expected that this destructive weather system will impact Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River with periods of strong winds, heavy rains, flooding of urban and low lying areas, potential flash floods and coastal storm surges are expected," the Camp Lejeune Facebook page wrote in a post Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Dale Alford, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East, announced via Facebook that he was authorizing a 96-hour liberty period for all non-essential personnel assigned to Lejeune and nearby air stations New River and Cherry Point.
"This period is to allow service members and their families to get out of the path of the storm without burning leave," he wrote. "It is your responsibility to communicate with your chain of command to determine whether you are essential or non-essential."