Letters written to the Wise family

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The Secretary of Defense

Feb. 6

Dr. and Mrs. Jean F. Wise

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Wise,

I realize words provide little comfort or solace, but I want to offer you and your family my deepest sympathy and personal condolences during this most difficult time. Our men and women in uniform voluntarily make extraordinary sacrifices in their service to our Nation, and your son made the ultimate sacrifice. I know his loss leaves an enormous void in your lives.

At this critical time in our history, Sergeant First Class Benjamin Wise answered the call of duty and served a cause bigger than himself in Afghanistan. A grateful Nation will never forget his willingness to uphold the values that make America unique in human history.

With my deepest sympathy,

Leon Panetta

I am so very lost in the emotion of losing another son of yours to combat. As the father of 3 sons, I cannot imagine the pain you must be feeling. And yet, I know that like Jeremy, Ben was doing what he wanted — to fight for all of us. He is a true American hero and patriot. God bless him and you.


The Director
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.c., 20505

25 January 2012

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Wise,

I recently learned about Ben's loss at as a result of combat operations in Afghanistan. Please accept my sympathies, as well as the sympathies of the entire Central Intelligence Agency. I understand Ben was an outstanding medic and Soldier and an exemplary leader, performing the hardest work that this Nation asks of any of its citizens.

Rest assured, the CIA continues to hold dearly to the memory of Jeremy's service and his sacrifice, on behalf of the Agency and our country. I know this letter offers little comfort to you at this time. Nothing I can say will help ease the pain you or your family are experiencing due to the ultimate sacrifices made by your two sons in our Nation's defense. I want to ensure you understand that you, Ben, Jeremy and your family will always remain in our prayers.

I know you will always remain proud of the sacrifice Ben made in support of our country. He did what few today would do — he answered his Nation's call, and we will always honor his memory.

With my deepest sympathy,
David H. Petraeus

We mourn Ben's loss with you and your family.


23 January 2012

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Wise,

It is with heavy hearts that my wife, Bonnie, and I send our condolences as you mourn the loss of your son, Ben. Your family has paid an immeasurable price for the freedom of our Nation. We realize that there are no words that will ease the pain of losing two sons, but we would be deeply remiss not to offer our heartfelt sympathy and our boundless gratitude for your family's service and sacrifice.

Ben leaves behind a legacy of determination and selfless courage. He is one of our Nation's heroes, and we hope that fond memories of the honorable life he lived will bring some measure of comfort.

With Beau serving in the ranks of our Corps, we embrace your entire family as part of our Marine Corps family and we grieve with you. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. If there is anything we can do, please do not hesitate to ask.

With deepest sympathy,
James F. Amos
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps

You have my word that we will take care of Beau!


20 January 2012

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Wise,

Please allow me to convey to you both my most sincere condolences for the death of your son Ben from wounds received in combat while fighting alongside his special forces teammates in Afghanistan. All of us in the United States Army Special Operations Command join me in extending to you their own heartfelt regrets.

I know this is your second sorrowful loss. We honor and mourn Jeremy's service and sacrifice as well. Words are terribly inadequate, I know. I simply wanted you to know how sorry we are for your loss, how sincerely we honor you and your family, and that you are in our thoughts and prayers. If I can be of service to you, please allow me to try. May God bless and ...you all always.

With greatest sympathy,
John F. Mulholland Jr.