D+18 1600-1607 Zulu 27 July, 1987

Washington DC, 1600 Zulu (1200 Local Time)

Upon receipt of a hotline message at the National Military Command Center, the contents are translated into English. Both copies are then transmitted to the White House Situation Room for distribution. This was the standard protocol followed in normal circumstances.

In the case of this particular message, its importance triggered a different response entirely. The MOLINK (Moscow Link) team called the Situation Room duty officer first and summarized the message contents as the formal translation was still being readied. Once this concluded, the duty officer lifted another phone and calmly spoke a two-word phrase into the receiver.

“Coral Azure.”

A voice on the other end acknowledged curtly. Less than ten seconds later, phones buzzed and alarms went off at a dozen locations around the DC area.

At the White House, President Reagan was in the private residence when the first calls started coming in. As the duty officer in the Situation Room went over the message with his commander-in-chief, emergency action protocol and procedures were going into effect at the White House and Pentagon. Given that the United States and Soviet Union were engaged in a state of hostilities and the Soviet leader’s message confirmed an imminent nuclear attack against a target in North America, evacuation was automatic.

HMX-1, the US Marine Corps helicopter squadron responsible for transportation of the president and other senior officials of the US government jumped into action almost immediately. Its alert detachments at Anacostia Naval Air Station and Andrews Air Force Base were alerted at once and within three minutes the first VH-3D was airborne and heading towards the White House. Also at Andrews, the flight crew and battle staff of the E-4B National Emergency Airborne Command Post were scrambling from the alert facility to their waiting converted 747 aircraft.

As all of this was going on, the Federal Aviation Administration issued orders to close the airspace in and around the capital city to civilian air traffic.

Author’s Note: Okay, this is a bit of a teaser post, I know. 😊 But I need some additional time to outline and lay out the coming posts in a manner that doesn’t bog down the flow of action with endless details, yet at the same time doesn’t skimp on necessary events or descriptions. I should have this finished by Sunday and will have the next D+18 post up Sunday night or Monday. I’d try to have it done by Saturday, but I think the links are calling my name for tomorrow! – Mike


12 Replies to “D+18 1600-1607 Zulu 27 July, 1987”

  1. I know the NEACP orbits were supposed be in northern Ontario and Quebec (away from the targets in the CONUS and southern Canada) would the declared targeting of Alert change that or it’s well enough away?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It could. The important thing initially will be to get away from the coast and minimize the risk of being taken out by an SLBM launched at DC. At this moment in that world, nobody knows what will happen next. Or what’s going on now for that matter

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoa!

    The acceptance by Romanov of Western retaliatory measures is a sign that he accepts that this move is a major escalation and that he’s possibly playing to appease a domestic political faction (and accepts that Reagan has to appease his own audience as well), as well as an attempt to keep this from escalating into full scale nuclear exchange. Assuming the West accepts the limited escalation, what’s Romanov’s endgame here? With the military situation in Central Front hanging in balance (and trending poorly everywhere else) and uprisings in Eastern Europe, is a return to pre-war status quo the best deal Romanov can get? Gotta think if he’s a realist that’s the best deal in town, though the East Germans, Poles and Romanians will have something to say to that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, returning to pre-war borders is the best Romanov can probably get. Then he can turn and deal with his mutinous Pact allies. In real life, Saddam did something similar at the end of Desert Storm. Killed a lot of people who rose up against him in 1991.


  3. Can’t wait to see the traffic jams once everyone else puts two and two together. Seeing a VH3 tearing direct across the Anacostia river to the south lawn and having NEACP launch out of Andrews coupled with an air defense emergency is going to be pretty unsubtle. For those that miss it, if JEEP is activated they’ll get the hint…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They stayed at their home bases. Dispersal would’ve triggered an escalation. But there are more aircraft on alert. I’ll talk a bit more about that in the coming posts. SAC’s business is about to pick up

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No, they ended the Chrome Dome alerts back in the 60s. Wouldn’t make sense doing them in the middle of a conventional war now. One mistake and suddenly a swarm of B-52s and B-1s are headed to Moscow. Not good 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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