Thrill seekers and paranormal enthusiasts who have attempted to break into Nevada’s infamous Area 51 have almost all certainly been thwarted by armed men dressed in camouflage behind the wheel of a white unmarked pick-up truck.
These armed government contractors, dubbed “Cammo Dudes” by Area 51 aficionados because of their military-style workwear, are shrouded in nearly as much secrecy as the 38,400-acre military testing site they protect.
The security guards who patrol the periphery of the Nellis Air Force Base that surrounds Area 51 made a rare appearance in a video that surfaced this week showing two of the officers pull guns on a pair of trespassing dirt bikers.
“Put your f—ing hands up,” one of the gun-wielding guards yells at the bikers. “I am not going to tell you again!”
The video shows the officers kick the men off the base and threaten them with trespassing charges from the nearest law enforcement agency, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.
Nearly all the trespassers at the Nellis Air Force Base are curious about the conspiracy theories that surround Area 51, which lies up to 10 miles within the base’s border.
“They’re there for pretty much one reason,” Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee told the Daily News. “This is the middle of nowhere. It’s the middle of the desert. I see very few (trespasses) that are accidents,” he said.
The top secret site has been the subject of decades-old conspiracies about alien autopsies and UFO storage. According to CIA, however, who formally acknowledged the base’s existence in 2013, it is a U.S. spy plane testing site.
The guards who patrol the site are alerted to intruders by sensors on the dirt roads and are authorized to detain them until sheriff’s deputies arrive. Roughly two to three people break into the area a month and get a $500 citation, Lee says.
“Honestly, they’re like security any place else,” Lee said. “Their job is to keep people from trespassing to the facility.”
But in some ways the top-secret area they protect makes their job unlike any else.
For one, some of these Department of Defense contractors commute to work by an umarked “Janet” airline that departs from a guarded airport on the Las Vegas strip. The flight takes them to the Mojave Desert site, located roughly 150 miles north of Sin City. Some of the guards commute in from rural Rachel or Alamo, Nev., the nearest towns to the Air Force base.
The security workers not only protect the military testing site by patrolling its border, but they reportedly never disclose where they work, instead referring to the site as “nowhere” or “out of town,” according to a 2001 Las Vegas Review-Journal story about a security guard strike.
They also take measures to conceal their own identity when they encounter intruders on the remote site.
“The guards usually keep their distance and tend to be camera-shy to protect their identities,” Peter Merlin, an Area 51 researcher, told the Daily News.
Signs at the entrance to the Air Force base give the “Camo Dudes” authorization to use deadly force on trespassers, according to some who have attempted to break into the mysterious base.
“According to signs at the border, use of deadly force is authorized. They can shoot you,” Glenn Campbell, who lived near and researched Area 51 for 10 years in an attempt to spot extraterrestrial activity. He never saw a UFO, but he caught sight of the “Cammo Dudes” on the occasions he entered the base, Campbell said.
The spokesperson for the Department of Defense would not comment or confirm the contractor who employs the security guards. As of 2002, they were employed by URS Corporation, which was acquired by AECOM in 2014.
A spokesperson for AECOM, a global infrastructure firm, would not confirm whether they employed the officers.