The commanding general at the US Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune is facing criticism for not issuing a mandatory evacuation order as Hurricane Florence barrels directly towards his North Carolina base, but he's issued a series of statements defending the move.
"Since 1941, this base and its Marines have been postured to deal with crises at home and abroad and Hurricane Florence is no exception," Brig. Gen. Julian D. Alford said in a message posted to the base's Facebook page on Sept. 11, 2018. "Marines take care of each other, and I will expend every available resource to make sure that happens."
Alford also said Lejeune is not in a flood prone area and seems confident the base can keep the remaining personnel there safe. "I give you my personal assurance we are going to take care of everyone on this base," he said.
Thousands of Marines have reportedly left the base as nonessential personnel were released from duty, but it's not clear how many personnel remain there. Camp Lejeune's public affairs office did not immediately respond to a request from Business Insider for updated figures on who will remain on base.
Due to the size and severity of the storm and the fact the base is at sea level near inland bodies of water, many on social media have mocked and criticized Alford's decision not to order a mandatory evacuation.
People online are expressing their frustrations with memes like this one over Marine Corps base @camp_lejeune deciding to not mandate an evacuation ahead of #HurricaneFlorence pic.twitter.com/gs18WyFBEt— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) September 12, 2018
Don’t worry, guys, the Marines have this hurricane covered. They’re going to fight it so we don’t have to. TYFYS pic.twitter.com/5J7b1d5qDX— Lauren Katzenberg (@Lkatzenberg) September 12, 2018
If Lejuene Marines sacrifice their boots and spread their blood over their barracks doors they’re protected from the hurricane, right?— M🌻 (@MotherOfDoggons) September 12, 2018
Meanwhile, Marine recruits at Parris Island in South Carolina were ordered to evacuate on Sept. 11, 2018, but those orders were later rescinded based on changes in the trajectory of the storm. Personnel who'd already evacuated Parris Island were ordered to return to their permanent duty station no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2018.
"As of now, all Marines assigned to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island will resume normal base operations on Thursday. This includes commanders and troops alike," the base's commanding general, Brig. Gen. James F. Glynn, said in a statement on the termination of the evacuation order.
Other branches of the military have taken precautionary measures in preparation for the storm. The US Navy, for example, ordered dozens of ships based in Norfolk, Virginia, out to sea.
Florence is a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make landfall on Sept. 14, 2018, and could dump as much as 40 inches of rain on North Carolina. The storm is expected to bring catastrophic flooding across the Carolinas.
More than one million people in the region are under mandatory-evacuation orders, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Sept. 12, 2018, urged residents to get out while they still can, stating, "Disaster is at the doorstep. If you're on the coast there is still time to get out safely."
Featured image: Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune, 2008.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.
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