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Air Force Warns Against Area 51 Assault Plans as Alien Memes Swamp the Internet

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More than 1 million people have signed up to storm the U.S. Air Force‘s clandestine base in Nevada, commonly known as Area 51, this September in hopes of seeing “them aliens,” but the service is cautioning individuals against participating.

The viral Facebook event, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” calls for alien enthusiasts to show up outside the base Sept. 20 and break through its barriers by “naruto running,” or weaving like a ninja to evade lethal force. This technique, group members say, will help bypass base security and any protective measures.

The Air Force is trying to discourage the alien hunters.

“The United States Air Force is aware of the Facebook post,” service spokeswoman Laura Mcandrews told Military.com in an email Monday. “The Nevada Test and Training Range is an area where the Air Force tests and trains combat aircraft. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss specific security measures, but any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous.”

Related: More Than 286,000 Join Prank Event to Storm Area 51: ‘Lets See Them Aliens’

While the government hasn’t said whether there are plans in motion to stop the event, users in the evergrowing Facebook group have publicly stated the planned invasion is a joke. But interest — mostly lighthearted — continues to surge.

Photos, tweets and social media posts have quickly become viral memes.

“Life is short. Write that novel. Paint that painting. Try that recipe. Hang out with friends. Form a militia. Create a compound. Acquire weapons. Rush Area 51. Regroup. Discuss stateless society. Knit that sweater. Take that vacation,” says one post from @petersack16 urging individuals to live their best life. The screenshotted Twitter post is circulating on Instagram.

Another popular meme features Billy McFarland, former CEO of Fyre Media Inc., who has faced multiple class-action lawsuits for defrauding investors, among other crimes, in the disastrous Fyre music festival. The meme, a photo of the currently imprisoned McFarland smiling, says, “Backstage passes to Area 51 for $1,500, bro.”

Another has two side-by-side photos of a bicycle, one on the ground, the other from the famous movie scene in “E.T.” in which E.T. and Elliot fly across the moon. The caption reads: “How I’m gonna enter Area 51 vs how I’m gonna leave.”

While the posts make light of the issue, the online plan to storm the base comes as one of the Air Force’s sister services has been more vocal about unidentified flying objects.

Navy pilots in recent months have publicly stated there has been an increase of unidentified flying objects over the years, prompting the service to issue new guidelines on how to best document sightings or encounters.

That said, the U.S. government has looked into UFOs for years, most notably between 2007 and 2012, when the Pentagon began its Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

The program was meant to “pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena,” the Defense Department has said, motivated by notorious events such as the 2004 “Tic Tac” incident.

In that incident, F/A-18 pilots from the aircraft carrier Nimitz, operating off the San Diego coast, reportedly spotted a large, white Tic Tac-shaped object that appeared to be floating without the assistance of an engine or exhaust plume.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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