U.S. Air Force Responds to Popular Joke Facebook Page About 'Storming Area 51'
"The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets," Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said
More than a million people have all made the same joke on Facebook — that they will “storm” Area 51 to “see them aliens” — and now the U.S. Air Force is weighing in on the widespread silliness.
As of Tuesday morning 1.2 million people said they would attend a clearly tongue-in-cheek event organized on Facebook called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” which is scheduled for Sept. 20 at the inexplicable hour of 3 a.m.
“We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry,” the page states.
Referencing a popular, anime-inspired meme, the event description continues: “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let see them aliens.”
The joke has stirred social media into a frenzy, including numerous memes playfully suggesting that people were going to go to the base and come back with their very own aliens.
Last week, the Air Force could not resist injecting a bit of seriousness into the levity.
“[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,” spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told The Washington Post. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
The Air Force did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
A July 5 post from one user on the Facebook event page, however, assures it’s all in fun.
“Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan,” the post reads. “I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet.”
Area 51 is a highly classified Air Force base within the Nevada Test and Training Range. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada.
Because there is such little information on the purpose of the base, it has been subject to a plethora of conspiracy theories that the facility is actually holding aliens and captured UFOs.
While the facility is not accessible to the public, the outside portion is a popular tourist destination. The surrounding area boasts gift shops, alien-themed motels and restaurants.
In 1996, Nevada renamed state Route 375 to the Extraterrestrial Highway.