Widow of Green Beret killed in North Africa speaks to local veterans

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Gold Star Wife Michelle Black
at American Legion Post 227
Story and photo by Doug Cerretti

The Starr Sutherland, Jr. Post 227 of The American Legion, Shoreline, WA was honored to host Gold Star Wife and Author Michelle Black Saturday January 15, 2022. 

Michelle talked about her husband Bryan’s service as a Green Beret and his mission in North Africa and the events leading to his death. She then answered questions for over an hour. 

Michelle’s husband Bryan, along with three colleagues, was killed in action in the North African country of Niger in 2017.

The military placed blame for this tragedy on Bryan’s Green Beret Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) Team 3212, describing them as “rogue.” 
As Michelle interviewed other team members she learned that ODA 3212 was not at fault but it was the ill-conceived mission planned by the commanding officers that were to blame. 

Michelle Black (r) signs her book "Sacrifice" for Gold Star Mother Linda Swanberg.
To their left is Gold Star Mother Karen Black, mother of Bryan Black

Michelle’s investigation led her to author "Sacrifice, A Gold Star Window’s Fight for the Truth

As Michelle writes in her book, “I often say I’d prefer to hear an ugly truth than a beautiful lie. In the year following my husband’s death, I was told plenty of both”. 

Michael Reagan presenting his portrait of Bryan Black (being held by Tennis DeJong) to Michelle

After Michelle’s presentation, Edmonds artist Michael Reagan of The Fallen Heroes Project presented her with a portrait of Bryan. Michael, a Viet Nam Marine combat veteran gave up a lucrative career as an artist to draw portraits of Fallen Heroes. 

A second portrait of Bryan was presented to Gold Star Mother Karin Black several months ago. In the last 20 years Michael has drawn over 8,200 portraits given to Gold Star Families at no cost to them.


Anonymous,  January 18, 2022 at 4:11 PM  

this is all so sad -

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