(COLORADO SPRINGS) — General Glen VanHerck, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) issued a statement about the shooting down of the alleged spy balloon.

“At the direction of the President of the United States and with the full support of the Government of Canada, United States fighter aircraft under U.S. Northern Command authority successfully brought down the PRC’s high altitude surveillance balloon at 2:39 p.m. EST, Feb. 4, 2023,” Gen. VanHerck said.

  • F-22 Raptor take off Joint Base Langley-Eusitis
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The military shot the balloon down within U.S. airspace and over water to minimize the threat to people on the ground and increase the likelihood of recovering the “payload.”

Gen. VanHerck said, “American and Canadian personnel from all three North American Aerospace Defense Command regions tracked the surveillance balloon, and USNORTHCOM’s U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy service components integrated to successfully down the balloon and are working to recover the balloon and payload.”

A coalition of active duty, Reserve, National Guard, and civilians worked together to plan and implement the operation to shoot the balloon down. The U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Aviation Administration, and Federal Bureau of Investigation worked to maintain public safety throughout the operation. The U.S. Navy is working on recovery now with the assistance of the Coast Guard.

“I am proud of the exceptional professionalism the NORAD and USNORTHCOM team displayed throughout this operation, and the dedication they bring every day to defending our homelands,” Gen. Vanherck stated.