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Arkansas family loses second son in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of two sons of an Arkansas couple who also have a third son in the military.
Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Wise, 34, of Little Rock.
Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Wise, 34, of Little Rock.U.S. Army
/ Source: The Associated Press

The war in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of two sons of an Arkansas couple who also have a third son in the military.

Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Wise, 34, of Little Rock, was on his fourth deployment overseas when he was injured during an insurgent attack on his unit last week. He died from his wounds Sunday at a hospital in Germany, the Department of Defense said in a statement Tuesday.

His brother, 35-year-old Jeremy Wise, was killed in a terrorist attack on a CIA outpost in Afghanistan in December 2009. He was a former Navy Seal working as a security contractor.

Their brother, Marine Corps Cpl. Matthew Wise, is based in Hawaii but was in Germany to be with his brother, his wife Amber said. She said she was at Benjamin's home in Washington state watching his children, but she declined further comment.

The Army Special Forces soldier is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

The men's parents, Dr. Jean and Mary Wise of Hope, Ark., and their sister did not return telephone messages seeking comment from The Associated Press. But the family released a statement thanking friends and Benjamin's fellow soldiers "for their sincere expressions of sympathy during this very difficult time."

His family described him as a loving husband, devoted father, caring son and selfless soldier.

"The Wise family is sincerely touched by the concern and interest all have taken in Ben's life, his career and his sacrifice for our country," they said in the statement. "Ben was proud of the career he built in the Army."

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Benjamin Wise, who entered military service in 2000, discussed his work as a soldier in a September 2004 interview with the Hope Star newspaper in Arkansas.

"It's something I've wanted to do for a while now," he told the newspaper. "I was in college and I took a break from college and thought I'd do it now while I was relatively young. I wanted to serve my country, and do something that I found exciting."

Wise compared his work as a soldier to a job, noting that "there are a lot of frustrating things about being over there, about being with people from another culture and the special circumstances.

"But, at the end of the day, it's a job and we're specialists in the field. The troops are sent there to accomplish a mission," he said.

Members of Arkansas' congressional delegation released statements of condolence and described Benjamin Wise as a hero.

"His bravery, dedication and patriotism exemplified what it means to be an American soldier and I am eternally grateful for his selfless sacrifice," said Democratic Rep. Mike Ross. Republican Rep. Tim Griffin added: "He dedicated his life to serving in defense of our country and has earned the deepest respect of a grateful nation."

The Hope Star newspaper reports that Wise was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said Wise served in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

"While Arkansas has lost a great patriot, the Wise family has paid an extraordinary price in service to our country," Pryor said.