The war in Iraq came home to Alexandria with the death of T. C. Williams graduate, Army Sgt. DeForest "Dee" L. Talbert.
Talbert, 22, was serving with the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 150th Armor Regiment from Beckley, W.Va. According to information provided by the Department of Defense, Talbert was killed in Baladruc, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He had been in Iraq since February.
Talbert grew up in Alexandria and was a football stand-out at T. C. He graduated in 2000 and went to West Virginia State College, where he continued to play football. He joined the National Guard to help pay for college expenses.
"Dee was a terrific young man who had made real strides in preparing for a good future for himself," said A. K. Johnson, T. C.'s athletic director. "Like many kids, he didn't always study as hard as he should have but his senior year, he came into my office a lot and asked a lot of questions about how to get into college and what he could do to play football and study.
"He stayed in touch with us and came to visit from time to time. We were all very proud of him and this is a tremendous shock," Johnson said.
Talbert attended school with former City Councilman Lonnie Rich's son. "The kids all grew up together from first grade," Rich said. "This terrible tragedy has really brought the war home to them. It's hard to believe that Dee is gone," he said. Talbert's body has been returned to Dover Air Force Base. Funeral arrangements are not complete.