As more than 1 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 said in a statement to USA TODAY that military officials were aware of the event that aims to uncover what many people believe are conspiratorial secrets of the military installation in Nevada.
McAndrews didn’t specify any security plans at the base, but she did warn those thinking of entering the area.
“The Nevada Test and Training Range is an area where the Air Force tests and trains combat aircraft,” McAndrews said. “Any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous.”
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 Sept. 20 from 3 to 6 a.m., says 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 conspiracy theories that say the U.S. military is housing secrets about 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 says on its website.
The Facebook event page, which has an additional 1 million users “interested” in the event, has sparked memes and jokes about how the plans to raid Area 51 might unfold.
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.”
Contributing: Vandana Ravikumar
Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller