Help us finally solve the mystery of the Pentagon’s purple water fountain

Pentagon Run-Down

Hear me readers: Your friend and humble narrator needs your assistance.

Those of us who have long been inside the Five-Sided Fun-House have grown accustomed to some of the building's eccentricities. For example, not too far from this reporter's cubicle, a purple water fountain sits encased in glass along with a plaque that says no one knows how or why this particular Pentagon water fountain is made out of purple marble.

"As all legends go, no one is quite sure of the origin of this 'Purple Miracle,'" the plaque says. "However, one fact is certain. Of the 685 water fountains in the Pentagon, only one is purple. (Were the original Pentagon engineers one fountain short and given the option of taking the purple water fountain to fill the void?)


So the official story is the Purple Water Fountain appeared one morning like the Obelisk in "2001." (For those of you born after the 60s, "2001" was one of the movies baby boomers loved to watch while high. The other was "Fantasia.")

This reporter's heroic colleague Haley Britzky, who joined the Pentagon beat in January, has endeavored to solve one of the military's second-greatest riddles. (The biggest mystery is whether "first sergeant" in the Army's first "Be All You Can Be" recruiting commercial was an actor or an actual soldier.)

But so far, no one has emerged with the true story behind the mysterious water dispenser.

That's why we are turning to you, oh wise ones. You are our Obi Wan Kenobi – our only hope.

Surely one of you reading this story has evidence of the Purple Water Fountain's origin story. If so, it's time to put this burning question to rest.

All other conventional methods of finding the truth behind the Purple Water Fountain have been exhausted. (This reporter is tempted to call the guy from the History Channel who says aliens built Stonehenge.)

Even Steve Vogel, author of "The Pentagon: A History" was stumped about who – or what – is responsible for the Purple Water Fountain.

"I looked into it as part of my book research, and long story short, no one really knows," Vogel said in an email to Task & Purpose. "None of the old-timers I spoke with really knew. Certainly, it has functioned as a navigation marker, but that's not the reason it was installed. The story that it was for African-American workers is false (the Army did initially plan segregated restrooms, but that was vetoed by FDR). Given there was only one purple fountain and many thousands of African American workers from the start, the idea is ridiculous."

"One theory I've heard that strikes me as plausible is that a water fountain needed to be replaced, and that the contractor given the job had a purple fountain they wanted to get rid of," he continued.

With the experts stumped, we are issuing a call out for information on the Purple Water Fountain. Please respond to this story so Haley can be the first person to crack this cold case.

Whoever provides accurate information gets a free drink in the Fighter Pilot Bar. (Though your definition of "free" might by slightly different from mine.)

Make sure you are subscribed to the Pentagon Run-Down for all the latest news.

SEE ALSO: Navy pilots are reporting more UFOs. Are they from Russia, China, or somewhere beyond?

WATCH NEXT: Jeff Schogol Loses That Loving Feeling

Jeff Schogol
(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. True Thao)

Army researchers have devised a method to produce ceramic body armor, lightweight but strong, from a 3D printer. Except that 3D printers are meant to print out knickknacks, not flak jackets — which meant that engineers had to hack into the printer to get the job done.

Read More Show Less

There are #squadgoals, and then there are squad goals — and only one of them includes a potential future accompanied by autonomous murderbots.

Hot on the heels of the Marine Corps's head-to-toe overhaul of infantry rifle squads, a handful of grunts at the Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California recently conducted field testing alongside a handful of autonomous robots engineered by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Squad X Experimentation program.

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher dodged the most serious charges the Navy threw at him during his court martial, but his final sentence could be far worse than what the jury originally handed down.

If the convening authority approves the jury's sentence of four months' confinement and a reduction in rank from E7 to E6, Gallagher will be busted down to the rank of E1, according to Navy officials.

Read More Show Less

An otherwise sleepy confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper was jolted from its legislative stupor after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) grilled the former Raytheon lobbyist on ethical issues regarding his involvement with his former employer.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Air Force photo)

An Air Force major in Texas has been charged with the murder of his wife, whose remains were found more than four months after she went missing.

The body of 29-year-old Andreen McDonald was discovered Thursday in San Antonio following an exhaustive search that took 134 days, according to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

Read More Show Less