2015 Zulu – Dolgikh and Chebrikov had much work to do. As did President Reagan and his advisers. Before signing off, the new Soviet co-leaders proposed an informal ceasefire be set into place beginning at midnight. The next morning, once SACEUR and Marshal Snetkov met and ironed out matters in Germany, work could begin on a more precise and proper ceasefire. Reagan agreed to the proposal in principle but informed the Soviets that US strategic forces would remain at their present alert posture until evidence of Soviet strategic forces drawing down was received. In Moscow, neither Dolgikh or Chebrikov had issue with this. The conversation closed after the leaders agreed on to make contact again at 0015 Zulu and provide updates.
2020 Zulu– The United States military and government had a strict set of procedures in place regarding a rapid rise in nuclear tensions. Even though the danger now appeared to be dissipating, NEACP-Primary would remain airborne for at least another eight hours. NEACP-Alternate carrying Vice President Bush was looking at twelve hours until it was back on the ground. Two of the three SAC command aircraft that were presently airborne would be returning to Offutt only after the B-52s, B-1s and FB-111s were released from their positive control points. CINC-SAC General John Chain estimated this would start sometime after midnight once it became clear the Soviets were holding to their end of the bargain. Until then the majority of US nuclear forces were remaining at the highest state of alert.
2030 Zulu- This wasn’t the case for B61 armed US Navy A-6E Intruders, however. Flights of these aircraft, along with escorting fighters and support aircraft were loitering in the Barents Sea, Sea of Japan and Black Sea at relatively short distances from the Soviet Union. Orders started going out from the NMCC to 2nd, 6th and 7th Fleet commanders and were then relayed to the affected carrier groups. At 2030 Zulu the first quartet of Intruders over the Barents Sea acknowledged the recall and turned back to the Forrestal and Eisenhower. By 2045 their counterparts around the world were doing the same.
2100 Zulu– In Western Europe, a number of nuclear-armed fighter bombers standing Victor Alert had launched from their home stations earlier in the evening and were now loitering at various points over the North Sea. On command from Brussels, transmitted through COMAAFCE at Ramstein Airbase, the recall orders were issued and acknowledged.
2110 Zulu– For GLCM and Pershing II missile units, their alert status remained unchanged. Batteries remained in the field at various firing positions from the United Kingdom to Sicily and across West Germany. They would remain vigilant until a formal ceasefire was placed in effect for Europe.
2130 Zulu– In Moscow at the Defense Ministry efforts were underway to reduce the alert level at land-based ICBM fields. A new commander was selected for the Strategic Rocket Forces, a general who was both capable as well as reliable politically. The ballistic missile submarines presently at sea would remain there for now. Within the next day, orders were likely to be given to the submarines’ captains to return to their respective home ports. Provided the situation globally continued to deescalate.
2155 Zulu- Following consultations with military commanders, as well as with his fellow leaders of NATO member-states, President Reagan briefly addresses the US population via AM radio. He informs the people that a change of government has taken place in Moscow and he is working with the news Soviet leadership to establish a ceasefire as rapidly as events allow. The threat of further nuclear exchanges has been significantly reduced and the strategic forces of the United States and Soviet Union are in the process of standing down.