World

U.S. military unit apologizes for tweet threatening to kill civilians near Area 51 base

by Jesse Johnson

Staff Writer

A public affairs division of the U.S. Department of Defense has apologized and deleted a tweet that appeared to threaten to kill civilians who had been drawn to a secretive military base in Nevada rumored to house government secrets about extraterrestrial life and spaceships.

“Last night a DVIDSHUB employee posted a Tweet that in NO WAY supports the stance of the Department of Defense. It was inappropriate and we apologize for this mistake,” the division wrote Saturday in a tweet from its official account.

Prompted by a Facebook post inviting people to “Storm Area 51,” UFO enthusiasts had poured into rural Nevada on Friday near the base, known colloquially as Area 51, but fears of a mass raid on the remote site or a public safety crisis proved unfounded, with just three people arrested.

Instead, perhaps the most excitement came in the form of a tweet by the official account of the Defense Media Activity (DMA)’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) late Friday that showed a B-2 stealth bomber on a runway surrounded by servicemembers.

“The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today …,” the tweet read.

Millennials are members of the generation following Generation X, or two generations after the baby-boom generation from 1946 to 1964. They are also known as Generation Y.

The tweet, which may have been tongue in cheek, was widely condemned on Twitter.

The tweet was not the first controversial usage of Twitter by the U.S. military.

On New Year’s Day, the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for managing the nation’s nuclear arsenal, apologized for tweeting from its official account that it was prepared to drop something “much bigger” than the iconic ball that marks the new year in New York City.

Hours before the ball drop, the command tweeted, “#TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball…if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger.”

The tweet included video showing a bomber dropping two conventional Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs at a test range in the United States.

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