Benjamin Harrison Purcell, 85, of Clarksville, Georgia, Dies at Home
Benjamin Harrison Purcell was an American Army officer, businessman and state legislator from Banks County who became one of the highest-ranking POWs of Vietnam War after being shot down while flying a helicopter on February 8th 1968.
He spent 58 months as a prisoner, including two failed escape attempts and suffering torture and starvation before finally being freed in March 1973.
Early Life and Education
Retired Army Col. Benjamin Harrison Purcell, 85 years old and from Clarksville Georgia, passed away peacefully at home Tuesday at his residence. Purcell held the highest ranking position as prisoner of war after his helicopter was shot down on February 8, 1968; he was released from custody three months later in March 1973.
Purcell first became fascinated with physics during high school, when his physics teacher presented him with a challenging problem: If he wanted to ascend a flagpole using rope and pulley, how hard would he have to pull in order to move himself up the pole? Purcell and one of his classmates solved this equation by finding that Purcell must exert half his bodyweight when pulling.
At MIT’s Radiation Laboratory, where they were developing microwave radar systems, he learned from Rabi and Bainbridge how to focus charged particles with magnetic fields; this became his thesis topic.
Benjamin Purcell served in both Korea and Vietnam as an Army officer commissioned through Army ROTC at what is now University of North Georgia College. Among his numerous accolades were Legion of Merit, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart awards.
He was taken prisoner on February 8, 1968 as Executive Commander of the 80th General Support Group when his helicopter was shot down, becoming one of the highest ranking officers captured during this conflict. He spent five years as a prisoner of war – including 58 months of solitary confinement – until being released in 1970.
Ben is the creator of David&Goliath and responsible for producing work with meaningful impact – most recently on campaigns for Jack in the Box and VIZIO.
Achievement and Honors
Ben is an accomplished creative leader, having overseen award-winning campaigns for brands like Jack in the Box and VIZIO. His commitment is creating work with meaning and impactful results.
During his service, he earned the Silver Star twice, the Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star awards. Additionally, as a paratrooper he earned a Combat Infantryman Badge; and together with Anne they co-authored a book titled Love and Duty.
The National Infantry Museum features him prominently in its Cold War gallery with his ditty bag and other mementoes from captivity. As one of the highest ranking Army officers captured during Vietnam War and spending more time than any other POW in solitary confinement until being freed on March 27, 1973.
Purcell married Anne in 1951 and they had five children together: David, Debbie, Clifford, Sherri and Joy. While incarcerated in Vietnam he and Anne communicated regularly through letters, weekly audiotapes and monthly phone calls.
On February 8, 1968 in Quang Tri, when his helicopter was shot down and captured by Viet Cong forces, he and four other passengers were captured and imprisoned for over five years – with 58 months spent in solitary confinement alone.
Ben currently serves as Chief Creative Officer at David&Goliath, leading award-winning campaigns for clients such as Jack in the Box and VIZIO. Committed to expanding and strengthening his agency’s creative work while nurturing meaningful and impactful creativity, he strives to grow this field and foster meaningful creative work that makes an impressionful statement about purpose and impact.
Dominic Purcell made his fortune through playing multiple roles in small production series. He is best known for playing Lincoln Burrows on Prison Break but also featured prominently in many other TV shows and movies.
He has an impeccable taste in fashion and style. He lives in an extravagant three-bedroom apartment located in Sydney’s Balmoral Beach area, boasting spectacular harbor views. Additionally, there is also access to his own private beach as well as a large terrace space for relaxing and socializing.
Purcell filed suit alleging that the Bank had provided him with misleading reasons for his discharge, violating qualified privilege. The district court agreed and awarded him $250,000 compensatory damages; $250,000 liquidated damages for willfulness; reinstatement; as well as $75,000 attorney’s fees and post-judgment interest.