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Local Green Beret killed in Africa remembered as great father, husband

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, of Puyallup, was one of the four Green Berets killed in an ambush in the African nation of Niger this week.

On Friday, his sister-in-law tearfully recalled him as a great father and husband.

The profound pain of Black’s death could be felt in the Stonegate neighborhood of Puyallup.

“Somebody in our neighborhood, to be affected like that,” one neighbor said Friday.

From the neighbors who talked, it’s evident, the Black family is well respected.

“What an honor it is to live across the street from them,” Whittney Kamel said.

Kamel says she never knew her neighbor's son was fighting for our country.

Black and the other U.S. Special Operations Forces troops were killed when Islamic extremists ambushed them, the Pentagon said. Black was a medical sergeant.

The U.S. Special Forces were in Niger training African troops, and militants came after them as they were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders.

“As Americans, we need to thank every one of these people every single solitary day,” Kamel said.

Kamel will start with Black’s mom.

“As a mother, I can’t imagine what she is going through as a mother -- her son is a hero to us,” Kamel said.

Another neighbor says Black’s mom, a teacher in the Sumner School District, was excited several days ago about what this year would bring. Now everything has changed, as loved ones grieve yet again for an American hero.

“Very sweet lady, my heart goes out to her. I am devastated,” a neighbor said.