They fix the USS Alabama's radio and receive the rest of the Emergency Action Message which tells them to stand down and NOT launch their missiles. At a hearing afterwards in front of a US Navy panel of Admiral judges, no action is taken against Commander Hunter (Denzel Washington) or Captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman). Hunter receives a new command after Ramsey recommends it, and Ramsey takes early retirement.
HRH The KING
Question: The disagreement between Hunter and Ramsey centers on the interpretation of the message that got cut off - Hunter says it might be a recall order so it has to be verified before they launch missiles; Ramsey says it is meaningless because it got cut off, so they should proceed with their original orders. I do understand that the captain was working within a scary time limit (one hour till the Russians could fire their missiles), but I don't understand how anyone could justify not spending part of that hour trying to confirm the cut-off message. Naval command would hardly have radioed them again to say "Yes, we really want you to fire your missiles, we're just telling you again for emphasis," so that means it was not just possible but extremely likely that the cut-off message was a recall order. Given that, how could anyone in their right mind want to cause a nuclear holocaust without first trying to find out what the cut-off message really said?
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