In news you didn't expect to hear — unless you've served in the Marines — officials at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina are advising base personnel to avoid wild animals, particularly wild coyotes.
The announcement was published to Camp Lejeune's official Facebook page after two Marine lance corporals, a lieutenant colonel, and a Navy petty officer first class were bitten by a wild coyote in separate incidents while running at night near the II Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group Area Command.
“Until further notice, please do not run in this area after dark until the animal can be removed,” the Facebook announcement warns.
Now, it's hard to read that and not immediately imagine it being narrated by Planet Earth's David Attenborough:
Here we come upon Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. An expanse of lush woods, boggy wetlands, and sand-swept coasts, this is a vibrant world teeming with life, alcohol-fueled idiocy, and danger.
Take this pack of young Marines and sailors — Lejeune's dominant species. The youngest of their number often spend their days running, climbing, falling, and howling 'Oorah' as they smash empty Coors cans onto their heads, and compete for dominance in games of chicken, grappling in the sandpit of an unused volleyball court, and playing Call of Duty.
However, they are not alone. Another predator stalks these lands: A wild coyote.
The Marines give chase — the wisest of their number announce that they will return to their den to don reflective belts, though they never reemerge — while the boldest take off into the woods, hellbent on tracking this furred foe despite having repeatedly failed land navigation.
Once they come upon their quary the Marines attempt to subdue it with their tan belt MCMAP training, while the other members of their pack shout out “MCMAP NINJA, BRO!” and “OORAH” at terrifying decibels in a vain effort to shock the coyote into submission.
But one by one these devil dogs are laid low by a fierce bite from a foe smaller than your average domestic dog.
Though fortune may favor the bold, nature is far less forgiving.
In this case, the attacks were all isolated incidents and not the actions of a marauding band of lance corporals hopped up on energy drinks, alcohol, and too much motivation.
“They were all running along a fitness trail in the Wallace Creek area on base at various times after dark in the past couple of weeks,” Nat Fahy, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Task & Purpose.
All four were bitten in the leg, though fortunately none of the injuries were serious. The most recent attack occurred at 4 a.m. Thursday morning.
“They all received medical treatment for their injuries, including rabies post-exposure treatment which is standard protocol,” Fahy said. “Wildlife staff believe only one coyote is involved in the attacks based on observations. They are coordinating efforts to legally remove the animal in accordance with state law.”
This isn't the first time Marines have made headlines for incidents involving dangerous predators. In 2018, Marines at Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina were suspected of feeding an alligator living behind their barracks.
During a moderated discussion with Defense One on Wednesday, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger was asked if he was concerned that coyotes posed a threat to the force.
“No, I am not concerned about rabid coyotes endangering the Marine Corps, but it was a pretty good story,” Berger said, citing Military.com, which originally broke the news.
In the end, two things are certain: Running up on a coyote in the dead of night is a good way to get bit, and it's also a surefire way to get a safety brief on why you shouldn't fuck with dangerous wildlife.
UPDATE: This article has been updated with additional information from Marine Corps officials about the ranks of the Marines and sailor bitten by the coyote.