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Lake City soldier, 19, is killed in Iraq

Army Pfc. Anthony "Tony" Hebert of Lake City died Thursday in Iraq.

Hebert, 19, was the son of Robert and Laurie Hebert. A 2005 graduate of Lincoln High School, he was known for working hard in class and playing hard on the golf course.

"He was just a real classy kid," said Steve Randgaard, who coached Hebert on the varsity Tiger golf team.

The Defense Department hadn't released any official information on the circumstances of Hebert's death as of press time, but his former teammates said the first report indicated Hebert died in a roadside bombing.

He apparently was one of five U.S. soldiers killed when powerful bombs struck their convoy in northeastern Baghdad. Three Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi interpreter also died in the attack.

The same day, a rocket-propelled grenade struck a vehicle in northern Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding three others, according to The Associated Press.

Word of Hebert's death just nine days before his 20th birthday spread quickly in his hometown of 5,000.

Randgaard was on the golf course when he heard the news Thursday night.

He said Hebert was the team's top golfer in 2004 and 2005, playing varsity three years and winning all-conference honors twice. But the quiet leader meant so much more than that to the team, the coach said.

"He always handled himself real well, on the course and off the course," Randgaard said.

"You never really had to worry about him," he added.

While some kids were out partying and getting into trouble, Hebert was hitting the links and sharing his skills with others.

"He had his head on straight," Randgaard said. "He was top of the line. No doubt about it."

He mentored several young golfers, including the Tigers' 2007 state tournament contender, junior Spencer Halder. He recalled being the lone eighth-grader back but never feeling like it with Hebert.

"He just treated me like every other guy on the team," Halder said. "He was definitely a good person to look up to."

Classmate Aaron Breyfogle described Hebert as quiet in a group but outgoing with friends. The two friends talked when Hebert was home during leave in February and March. They last exchanged e-mails a couple of weeks ago.

"We'd golfed together since sixth grade," Breyfogle said. "It's tragic. You never think it's going to happen close to home, then it does."

Hebert is the 61st person from Minnesota or who had strong state ties to be killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Anderson-Peterson Chapel in Lake City.