Michelle Black’s husband, Bryan, was a Green Beret and one of four American soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger in October 2017 by ISIS terrorists.

If her husband’s death wasn’t bad enough for her, the nightmare that followed was worse as she couldn’t get a straight answer from his unit, and the various headquarters that the Green Berets fell under, of what had caused that fateful outcome. 

Now, Michelle Black has published a book titled Sacrifice, A Gold Star Widow’s Fight for the Truth. It recounts her husband’s life, the events leading up to the ambush, its aftermath, and the investigation surrounding it. 

With narratives changing frequently, Mrs. Black was horrified to learn that the Army, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA), were blaming the Special Forces A-Team for its own demise. In their investigation, they partly blamed the ambush on a culture of risk-taking, a culture that is deliberately cultivated in Special Operations soldiers. They characterized the team as rogues and cowboys, who went off the reservation. 

Author Michelle Black, who wrote the most detailed and accurate after-action report on the ambush in Niger. (michelleblacksacrifice.com)

This set her on the path to find out the truth. Her book, Sacrifice, A Gold Star Widow’s Fight for the Truth includes a minute-by-minute breakdown of the awful events that unfolded on that fateful day in Niger. Michelle Black interviewed the surviving members of the A-Team. Their account tells the true story and exposes the entirety of what transpired, not only on that day but in the months leading up to it, as well as what happened after the ambush. By interviewing the surviving soldiers, who were anxious for someone to listen to them, Michelle Black pieced together a minute-by-minute timeline of the entire mission.

Bryan Black’s Path to the Green Berets

Michelle and Bryan Black’s story began long before he became a Green Beret. The two were building a life together and raising two young sons, one of whom had autism. And as anyone with an autistic child will tell you, that is a time-consuming but rewarding job that requires patience, time, and the willingness to try every conceivable way to get through to your child. Those factors would later all come into play for Mrs. Black in ways she had never envisioned. 

When money got tight, joining the military became more appealing for Bryan who had always been interested in the Navy SEALs and the Army Green Berets. Being a champion chess player, online poker player, and rugged outdoorsman he was a perfect fit for Special Forces and vice versa.

Green Beret Bryan Black with his sons at his graduation and becoming a Green Beret. (Black family)

Not long after joining the Army, Bryan Black volunteered for and passed Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). He then embarked on the long Special Forces Medical Sergeant’s Course in the SFQC. In the spring of 2015, he graduated the SFQC and earned his Green Beret. A few months later he was in Afghanistan. After returning home, he went to and graduated from Ranger School. In 2016 as a member of ODA-3212 in the 3rd Special Forces Group, he went on his first deployment to Niger.