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July Fourth message not the first from Russian bombers

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Washington (CNN)"Good morning, American pilots. We are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day."

That was the message two Russian bombers delivered while flying within tens of miles of the California coast this month to the U.S. fighter jets that intercepted them, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The greeting may have been unusual, but the close encounter was not. Russian military planes have been encountered near U.S. airspace a number of times before.

On June 4, 2014, U.S. fighter jets intercepted Russian bombers off Alaska and California following a string of aerial encounters over the Pacific.

According to U.S. defense officials, four long-range Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers, accompanied by an aerial refueling tanker, flew into the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone, an area extending 200 miles from the North American coast, off Alaska, where they were intercepted by U.S. F-22 fighter jets.

Two of the Russian bombers peeled off and headed west, while the other two flew south and were identified by U.S. F-15 fighters within 50 miles of the California coast.

Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said at the time that it was the first time American jets had intercepted Russian military aircraft off California since 2012 -- an encounter that also took place on July Fourth.

Davis said the Russian planes were entirely within their rights, and it was a professional encounter on both sides. He said in 2014 that Russian flights into the air defense zone are intercepted about 10 times a year.

Read Entire Article: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/politics/us-russian-bombers-july-4-intercept/index.html 

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