Operation Deepfreeze '73 was a little boring until a "Purple rock" was discovered at a remote landing site, in one of the "Dry" valleys. A crewchief (Gary) made the discovery and hatched a plan with the HAC, Lt. Mike Riley. In a nutshell, they would return to the Helo hangar and like Frank Sinatra: "Start spreading the news." about the OVERHEARD conversation between two scientists and purple rocks. It seems, they relayed to anyone who would listen, that this particular type of rock, purple in color, was judged to be over 30 million years old. If one could be found and brought back, it would mean a great deal to the scientific world, and probably worth a heck of a lot of money to the finder. It was also believed, as they bit their respective tongues, that there were not very many of these purple rocks left on the continent, due to "Shifting Earth Phenomenon; a condition exclusive to the South Pole region. And with that thought imparted and implanted to the hangar audience, Gary and Mike could almost read the curiosity and the believableness on the faces of the unsuspecting "New guys". The bait was out in the open. All that was left was to set the hook. .
The stage was now set. The "Purple rock" was carefully placed at a site in the Dry Valley, not to be missed by anyone; especially the finder. .
Just a few days later, a mission was launched to the spot with a FNGY in tow, flying as co-pilot to Mike Riley. Gary and Mike went on and on about the "Purple rock" as they flew to their destination. It was slated as a FAMFLT (familiarization flight) to the Valleys. They would fly in and around the Valleys and practice landings and VERT REPS (vertical replenishment), and anything else they could conjure up to keep the new guy peaked to think nothing else except the infamous: "Purple rock." Eventually, they landed at the site and dropped a hint that this sie, according to what they overheard from the scientists, was a very probable place to find a "Purple rock"! .