FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) – A 19-year-old soldier from Fall River has been killed in combat in Iraq, the Defense Department announced Tuesday.

Friends and teachers at Diman Vocational-Technical High School, where Pvt. Michael E. Bouthout had studied culinary arts and graduated in 2004, remembered him as being a well-liked leader.

Bouthot and three other soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 67th Armored Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, were killed when a bomb exploded near their military vehicle in Baghdad on Saturday, officials said.

Diman’s assistant superintendent, Brian Bentley, said Bouthot once said he wanted to graduate high school to make his mother proud and join the Army to make his country proud. “He was just a good kid. It’s very tragic,” Bentley said.

A friend of Bouthot’s, Kyle Stankiewicz, said that Bouthot joined the Army just after Stankiewicz joined the Navy.

“I’m not sure what else to say right now, except that Mike was proud to serve. I’m proud to say that he’s my friend,” Stankiewicz said.

told the newspaper. He said his friend died for fellow citizens, and “for the future of both our country and Iraq.”

Paul Bertoncini, a baking teacher at Diman, told the newspaper that even when his former student acted up, “you couldn’t stay mad at him.”

Bouthot is the second soldier from southeast Massachusetts killed in Iraq this month. On April 2 Lance Cpl. Patrick J. Gallagher, 27, of Fairhaven was one of six marines killed when their truck rolled over in a flash flood in Al Asad, Iraq.

Bouthot’s family asked for privacy and declined an interview, the newspaper said. A woman who answered the telephone Tuesday night at the family’s home also declined to comment to The Associated Press.

Rogerio Ramos, the superintendent at Diman, told the newspaper Bouthot was a hard worker.

“We’re also proud to say he graduated from Diman and served his country well.”

Information from: The Standard-Times, http://www.s-t.com