City of Puyallup to host memorial service for Green Beret killed in Niger

by: KIRO 7 News Staff Updated:

PUYALLUP, Wash. - The city of Puyallup announced it will hold a public memorial service on Sunday Nov. 19 to honor Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, who died in an ambush in Niger last month.  

In October, Black's mother, Karen, remembered her son as the boy: the boy who grew up in Puyallup, the boy who teased his older brother, the boy who hated losing, the boy who taught himself chess, languages and anatomy.

“He’s always had this driven, kind of a risk-taker kind of personality,” she said. “And he needs a challenge. Always needed a challenge.”

>>Related: Puyallup Green Beret killed in Niger once was a chess whiz and stock trader 

Staff Sgt. Bryan Black of Puyallup was one of the three men killed when they came under fire in the southwest part of the African nation. Black was from the Fort Bragg-based 3rd Special Forces Group, as where the others: 39-year-old Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, from Springboro, Ohio, and 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, from Lyons, Georgia.

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Officials said the commandos, who were Green Berets, were likely attacked by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militants. Four Nigerian soldiers were also killed. Two American soldiers and eight Nigerien soldiers were injured.

The soldiers were conducting “an advice and assist mission” in support of Nigerien security forces, according to a statement released by the Pentagon. Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said it was the first time American forces have been killed or wounded in combat in Niger.

The memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Pioneer Park Pavilion, 330 S. Meridian, Puyallup. Free parking is available in the adjacent library lot or across the street at City Hall. Click here for more information. 

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