Coon Rapids soldier dies in Iraq

  • Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2009 - 9:46 PM

National Guard major succumbed to noncombat injuries at a base in Basra.

Tad Hervas

A member of the Minnesota National Guard has died in Iraq from noncombat injuries.

The Department of Defense identified the soldier as Maj. Tad T. Hervas, 48, of Coon Rapids. He died on Tuesday at the Contingency Operating Base in Basra. He was assigned to the 34th Infantry Division, based in Rosemount.

A Minnesota National Guard spokesman said Hervas' death did not result from a confrontation with the enemy. The Army continues to investigate the circumstances.

A National Guard spokesman said Hervas, who was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, was working as a military intelligence officer at the time of his death.

Al Michaud, who has known Hervas since their days together at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, described Hervas as a gregarious friend who always made him laugh. The two were part of a group that called itself the Dirty Dozen, a group of college students who lived close to each other, socialized and played intramural sports together.

"He could always make me laugh, every time I saw him," Michaud said.

Michaud said Hervas joined the Minnesota National Guard after completing active-duty military service in the Air Force.

He deployed to Iraq while in the Air Force as well as two tours of duty with the Guard, Michaud said.

"He was very proud to be a soldier and proud of what he was doing," he said.

Hervas was a unit commander with the Guard in Iraq in 2005 that found itself split, guarding a contractor compound in Saudi Arabia and guarding an oil refinery near Baghdad.

During the deployment, several soldiers complained about conditions in a series of e-mails to the Duluth News Tribune, which published their accounts. Hervas was subsequently reassigned to help to coordinate the air space over Baghdad, according to accounts in the News Tribune.

Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636

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