News Releases

Attorney Neil Purcell Retires After 44 Years of Service

South Atlantic Division
Published July 20, 2023
Updated: July 20, 2023
Neil Purcell recognize at a retirement ceremony held at South Atlantic Division HQ in Atlanta, GA.

Neil Purcell Retires After 44 Years of Service

Neil Purcell recognize at a retirement ceremony held at South Atlantic Division HQ in Atlanta, GA.

Neil Purcell Retires After 44 Years of Service

South Atlantic Division bids Chief Counsel Neil Purcell a fond farewell at his retirement ceremony on July 19, 2023, at Division Headquarters in Atlanta after 44 years of federal service.

South Atlantic Division Commander Brig. Gen. Daniel Hibner hosted the event and told Purcell, “You are someone that is known to run to a challenge as opposed to from one. You are a great mentor and leader as well as an incredible attorney. You will be missed but never forgotten.”

Purcell was joined by his wife Roxxie, three children and two grandchildren at the ceremony. Friends and colleagues recounted his leadership, professionalism, calm demeanor and the respect he earned within the Corps of Engineers counsel community.

Purcell was selected as Division Counsel for the South Atlantic Division in July of 2005.  In his 18 years as Division Chief Counsel, he earned a reputation as the calm voice of reason during the most difficult situations. His command of law was impeccable and other attorneys within the organization knew they could count on Purcell to know the correct way forward regardless of the challenge.

He began his career as a lawyer serving on active duty as a Judge Advocate with the U.S. Air Force from 1979 to 1986 with a variety of assignments in Arizona (Claims Officer, Chief of Military Justice), the Republic of the Philippines (Assistant Chief of International Law, Area Defense Counsel), Colorado (Chief of Military Justice), and the United Kingdom (Circuit Trial Counsel). 

After leaving active duty in September 1986, he entered Federal civilian service as an attorney at the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center in Denver, Colorado.  There, Purcell practiced fiscal law, and labor law.

In 1987, Purcell went to work for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) in Dallas, Texas as a procurement attorney in their worldwide headquarters.  At AAFES, he provided legal support for the procurement and administration of automated data processing equipment contracts worldwide, retail contracts worldwide, and concession and support services contracts nationwide.

In 1990, Purcell joined the Corps of Engineers in Omaha, Nebraska as an Assistant Division Counsel in the then Missouri River Division.  There, Purcell served as the procurement attorney and labor counselor.  While in Omaha, Purcell was instrumental in the development of the Total Environmental Restoration Contract (TERC) and the Fort Carson Privatization Initiative.  In 1999, he transferred to the South Pacific Division as labor counselor and environmental attorney.  In 2000, Purcell became the District Counsel for the Pittsburgh District.

Purcell received both his undergraduate degree in Political Science in 1975 and his law degree in 1978 from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is licensed before the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. 

He is the recipient of the Humanitarian Civilian Service Award (2020), Meritorious Civilian Service Award (2017, 2018, 2020), Superior Civilian Service Award (2009), The Chief Counsel’s Disaster Response Team Award (2018), The Edelman-Spirit of Arrowhead Legal Services Manager of the Year (2011), the Chief Counsel’s A-76 IM/IT Competition Team Award (2007), the DeFleury Medal (2005 - Bronze), the Superior Civilian Service Award (2004), the E. Manning Seltzer Award (2000), the Ramon J. Powell Legal Scholarship Legacy Award (1999), the Superior Civilian Service Award (1999), the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service (1997), the Joseph W. Kimbel Award (1993), the U.S. Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service (1992), the USAF Meritorious Service Medal, and the USAF Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. 


Chad Eller
(470) 816-7509

Release no. 23-003