0004 Zulu– The commencement of chemical and nuclear warfare in Central Europe at the tail end of D+23 and the start of D+24 brought AFSOUTH to an even higher state of readiness. Units increased their nuclear and chemical preparations. Minutes passed by with no new information coming from Brussels other than an order for all NATO ground forces to adopt MOPP-4 posture. Since AFSOUTH already ordered his forces and installations to take this step on his own, he acknowledged the order and continued taking other measures to ready his command for battlefield nuclear weapon usage.
0100 Zulu– Victor Alert aircraft at Aviano, Torrejon and Incirlik have been armed with nuclear weapons, manned and are staged on 5-minute alert. The pilots have been briefed on their targets, ingress and egress routes, and other vital information.
0115 Zulu– At sea the Kennedy and Saratoga airwings are ready to launch their SIOP missions within 15 minutes of the order being given. Their targets would include naval installations, ports and airbases on the Black Sea coastline of the Soviet Union.
0120 Zulu– The 487th Tactical Missile Wing, USAF, at Comiso Airbase in Sicily reports its GLCMs are fully deployed and prepared to accept tasking.
0315 Zulu– AFNORTH receives news of a Soviet nuclear attack against NATO ground formations in NORTHAG. Details are limited, but SACEUR orders CINC-South to be prepared for possible retaliatory tasking in his theater.
0450 Zulu– The NATO retaliation has taken place in Germany, Minutes after Naples receives word of this, a report arrives from Comiso Airbase. A team of eight Eastern European or Soviet men dressed in black military fatigues was engaged by Air Force security troops as they approached the launch area of a GLCM flight. Six of the men were wounded or killed, and the remaining two taken into custody. This would turn out to be the only attempted Spetznaz attack against a fielded nuclear weapon launch site on D+24.
Author’s Note: Part II tomorrow night or Thursday