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Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Wisdom

Died November 8, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


39, of Atchison, Kan.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery, Kansas Army National Guard, Horton, Kan.; killed Nov. 8 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy in Baghdad. Also killed was Army Spc. Don A. Clary.

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Kansas National Guardsmen killed in Iraq

By John Milburn

Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — The first Kansas Army National Guard soldiers to die in combat since the Vietnam War were killed by a car bomb on Monday in Baghdad, the Army said Tuesday.

Killed were Staff Sgt. Clinton Lee Wisdom, 39, of Atchison, and Spc. Don Clary, 21, of Troy, the Kansas Army National Guard said. Both soldiers were members of Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery.

The two soldiers died after they positioned their vehicle between a convoy they were assigned to protect and a vehicle driven by insurgents that exploded, Kansas National Guard officials said.

Their field artillery unit has been providing security and support in Iraq since it deployed in February. Approximately 350 soldiers from across Kansas are in the unit.

“We’ve got two heroes here,” said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, Kansas’ adjutant general. “They were willing to do what they had to do in an area that’s as dangerous as it gets.”

Bunting said many of the soldiers from the battalion were following generations of family members who served in the same National Guard unit.

“They’re close. It’s difficult. We hope that between good training and good skills the third good takes care of itself — good luck,” he said.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius asked Kansans to pray for the soldiers’ families and to support all troops in Iraq.

U.S. officials said 16 Americans were killed in recent days in Iraq, including three killed Tuesday in fighting near Fallujah. Others died in attacks mounted by guerrillas in and around Baghdad.

The 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery has units from Abilene, Atchison, Concordia, Marysville, Horton, Sabetha, Salina and Troy. It was mobilized for duty in Iraq in November 2003 and trained at Fort Riley before heading overseas.

There are approximately 1,800 Kansas Army National Guard soldiers deployed or mobilized for duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. An additional 4,200 soldiers remain in Kansas.

Jane Boeh, the city clerk in Troy, a small, northeast Kansas town of 1,200, said she knew the families of both soldiers.

“When it hits home in a small community, you’re all involved with accepting it,” Boeh said.

Clary graduated from Troy High School in 2001 and attended Benedictine College before his father became ill, said Nick Dannevick, a counselor at Troy High School. He said Clary quit school to find work and help his father, who eventually died. Clary’s father and grandfather both served in the military.

“You’re never ready for anybody to die, even if they are on their death bed for a month,” Dannevick said. “For a young person like this, whose life was basically ahead of him, it’s awful sad.”

At a news conference Tuesday night at her Atchison home, Wisdom’s wife, Janet Wisdom, said the soldiers of her husband’s outfit “knew he had their back,” The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“No woman on the face of this earth could be more proud than I am right now,” Janet Wisdom said.

Kristy Clary, sister of Don Clary, said her brother was the third generation of her family to serve in a war overseas. His father was a Vietnam veteran, and his grandfather served in World War II and the Korean War.

“He also knew the day could come that he would have to give his life in order to save someone else’s, and that he would do it without hesitation and with pride,” Kristy Clary said. “And that’s what he did.”


Names of 2 Kansas soldiers going on D.C. memorial

The Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — Two Kansas National Guard soldiers who died in a suicide bombing in Iraq are being honored by the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington.

The agency will add the names of Sgt. 1st Class Clayton Wisdom and Sgt. Don Clary to a memorial honoring those who have died in service while protecting DIA personnel.

Clary and Wisdom were killed in November 2004 while protecting a contingent of DIA staff and members of the Iraq Survey Group. The soldiers positioned their vehicle between a suicide bomber's vehicle and the DIA staff vehicles traveling in a convoy in Baghdad.

The DIA memorial was created in 1988 and was redesigned in 1999.

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