Pfc. Jacob Allcott of Caldwell was an intelligent, dedicated soldier, family and friends said Tuesday.
Allcott, 21, and three other soldiers died in Baghdad on Saturday when their Humvee caught fire after a roadside bomb exploded nearby, according to the Army.
He is the second young soldier from Caldwell to die in the past year. Idaho National Guard Spec. Carrie French, 19, died in June 2005, in Kirkuk, Iraq, when her vehicle hit a roadside bomb.
Allcott went to Iraq in November with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas.
"Right now it doesn't really seem real, " said brother Aaron Allcott , 28, of Caldwell. "It's kind of a shock, I guess."
Allcott, the youngest of six children, grew up in Caldwell. Bruce Allcott, Jacob's father, retired as fire chief in Caldwell in 2004 and took a similar post in Burley.
Jacob Allcott had wanted to be a soldier and go to Iraq, his brother said. But the family wasn't prepared for his death.
"He believed in what he was doing and thought that's where he needed to be, " Aaron Allcott said. "You always hope and pray that won't happen."
Jacob Allcott graduated from Caldwell High School in 2002, where he played on the tennis team.
Julie Yamamoto was principal at Caldwell High in 2002 and remembered Allcott as a "good kid, " who was strong in both math and science.
"He was very intelligent. He was going to make his own way in the world, " Yamamoto said. "He wasn't going to be swayed by others. He was going to do something with his life."
Allcott's parents were vacationing in Holland when they learned their son had died, Aaron Allcott said. Army officials overseas notified them.
Plans for a memorial service are still up in the air, Aaron Allcott said.
"My parents are still trying to get back into the country and get with the military and hopefully by Friday we will have a better idea with what's going to happen, " he said.
Aaron Allcott last talked to his brother in December.
"He seemed all right, " Aaron Allcott said. "What he told me is they hunt down insurgents. Last time I talked to him, he was doing training with small weapons."
Statesman reporter Sandra Forester contributed to this report. To offer story ideas or comments, contact reporter Kathleen Kreller at kkrelleridahostatesman.com or 377-6418.