Arkansas flags were ordered flown at half-staff across the state through sunset on Thursday in memory of the son of a Hope couple.
Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Brian Wise, 34, of Little Rock, died Sunday in Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany. He became the second son of Dr. Jean and Mary Wise of Hope to die as the result of military action in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Wise received multiple gunshot wounds on Monday, January 9 when enemy forces attacked his Green Berets unit with small-arms fire in Balkh province. He died of complications at Landsthul as his parents were flying to Germany to join him.
Sgt. Wise was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Sgt. Wise's wife, Traci, sons Luke and Ryan, and daughter Kailen live in Puyallup, Washington.
The sergeant graduated from West Side Christian High School in El Dorado in 1995. No funeral arrangements have been announced. Sgt. Wise has received posthumous awards of the Bronze Star medal, the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Dr. Wise is an ear, nose and throat specialist who has a clinic in Hope. Sgt. Wise is also survived by a sister, Mary Heather Skaleski, and a brother, Matthew "Beau" Jordan Wise. Matt Wise is a Marine Corps corporal based in Hawaii. Matthew Wise and his sister, Mary, were with Sgt. Wise when he died.
The Wise family issued a statement through the Department of Defense:
"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. Ben was proud of the career he built in the Army. We would like to thank friends and his fellow soldiers for their sincere expressions of sympathy during this very difficult time. Your support is appreciated as we mourn the loss of Ben who was a loving husband, a devoted father, a caring son and a selfless soldier."
Wise joined the Army in November 2000 and previously served a tour of duty in Iraq from 2003-2004. He volunteered for the Special Forces in 2005 and was a medical specialist. He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
The Wise's oldest son, Jeremy Wise, 35, a former U.S. Navy Seal team member, died in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, 2009. He was one of seven people killed when a suicide bomber attacked a meeting at Forward Operating Base Chapman, where Wise was working as a security contractor. The explosion also killed another security contractor and five of the Central Intelligence Agency's top operatives in Afghanistan.
Gov. Mike Beebe ordered state flags flown at half-staff on Tuesday to honor Sgt. Wise.
U.S. Rep. Mike Ross of Prescott issued a statement on Monday night regarding Sgt. Wise's death.
"Sergeant First Class Benjamin Wise was a true American hero -giving his life in service to our great country. His bravery, dedication and patriotism exemplified what it means to be an American soldier and I am eternally grateful for his selfless sacrifice. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, children, parents and the rest of his many family and friends during this very difficult time. We must never forget that our service members often put themselves in harm's way, and too many, like Sergeant First Class Benjamin Wise, die in service to our country. We must always thank all of our active duty service members and veterans for what they do and have done, and never forget those, like Sergeant First Class Benjamin Wise, who have died serving this country," the statement said.