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'Highly discouraged': Air Force responds to plans to 'storm Area 51' and 'see them aliens'

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/16/2019 Ryan W. Miller
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As more than a million people on Facebook say they're attending a joke event to "storm Area 51," the U.S. military has responded to the plans — just in case they actually do.

Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told the Washington Post that military officials were aware of the event that aims to uncover the alleged conspiratorial secrets of the military installation in Nevada.

McAndrews didn't specify to the newspaper any security plans at the base, but did issue a warning.

"[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces," she said. "The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets."

Are we alone?: People are signing up for Facebook event to 'storm' Area 51 and 'see them aliens'

Speaking with NPR, an unnamed Air Force spokesperson said, "Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged."

USA TODAY has reached out to the Air Force for comment.

The military's response comes after about 1.2 million people responded to the satirical event as "going." The Facebook event, which is scheduled for September 20 from 3 to 6 a.m., says that it aims to "see them aliens."

"If we [N]aruto run, we can move faster than their bullets," the event description says, making a humorous reference to a Japanese manga character known for running with his arms stretched out backward and his head forward. 

Area 51, part of the larger Nevada Test and Training Range at Nellis Air Force Base, has been the subject of many conspiracy theories alleging the U.S. military is housing secrets concerning aliens and UFOs.

The Nevada Test and Training Range "provides the warfighter a flexible, realistic and multidimensional battle-space to conduct testing tactics development, and advanced training in support of U.S. national interests," the Air Force states on its website.

The Facebook event page, which has an additional million users "interested" in the event, has sparked many memes and jokes about how the plans to raid Area 51 might unfold.

However, one Facebook user, who posted a humorous map of the area that features lines of "Naruto runners," "rock throwers" and "Kyles" to storm the area, hedged his plans with a message for the military:

"Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan. I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet." a black sign with white text © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

Contributing: Vandana Ravikumar

Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Highly discouraged': Air Force responds to plans to 'storm Area 51' and 'see them aliens'

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