D+23 (1 August, 1987) 1530-1600 Zulu

Mons, Belgium 1530 Zulu (1730 Local) Despite the trans-Atlantic distance between SACEUR’s wartime headquarters complex in the forest outside of Mons and Washington DC, President Reagan’s voice came through with a crispness and clarity that it seemed as if the leader of the free world was in a room next door. Communications, namely secure communications …

D+23 (1 August, 1987) 0700-0900 Zulu

Moscow, USSR 0700 Zulu (1100 Local Time) The 10 AM Politburo meeting began twenty minutes late with the delayed arrival of the general secretary. In normal times, late starts to meetings such as this were the rule rather than the exception. In times of crisis or war it occurred less often, sometimes acting as a …

The North Atlantic D+22 (31 July 1987) Part III (Charlie)

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) was escorted into the Situation Room on the basement level of the White House at 0930 EDT. Upon entering the wood-paneled conference room, Admiral Lee Baggett, US Navy noted more officials, civilian and military, than normal. One of the men seated against the wall in a chair was John …

The North Atlantic D+22 (31 July 1987) Part III (Alpha)

0405- News of the failed Badger attack on Strike Fleet Atlantic reaches Norfolk. SACLANT agrees with strike fleet commander’s assessment of the situation, which was helpfully included with the initial report. After reading over the telex, SACLANT ordered his staff to  be recalled immediately (it was 2105 hours, the previous evening in Virginia). Then he …

The North Atlantic D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part I

Political developments late in the evening of D+14 necessitated an abrupt halt to SACLANT’s planned operations for the following day. At 0100 on D+15, Admiral Lee Baggett Jr, USN took a phone call directly from President Reagan. The president summarized the hotline conversation he had recently completed with the Soviet general secretary. The situation at …

The North Atlantic D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part III

As the last Corsairs and Prowlers were trapping on board Forrestal, Eisenhower’s air crews went through last minute pre-flight preparations for their upcoming missions over the Kola. CVW-7’s targets were the long-range surface-to-air missile sites located farther inland closer to the main Northern Fleet naval bases of Severomorsk and Polyarny. These included three SA-5 Gammon …