Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, 2nd Marine Division's commanding general, congratulates then-Sgt. Aaron C. Torian of 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion for being named the Division NCO of the Year for 2005. (Cpl. Mike Escobar/Marine Corps)
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Then-Sgt. Aaron C. Torian, a team leader assigned to B Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, examines a modified insurgent sniper rifle pulled from a buried cache in Zaidon, Iraq. Torian was leading a patrol south of Fallujah when one of his Marines kicked at some dirt, uncovering the prized catch. (Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva/Marine Corps)
A member of Marine Corps Special Operations Command has died on his sixth combat deployment, according to Kentucky media.
Master Sgt. Aaron Torian, 36, assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, was killed by an improvised explosive device that detonated Saturday in Afghanistan, his family told a hometown television station.
Although the Defense Department has not yet officially announced his death, a Facebook post by his mother’s church, the Heartland Worship Center in Paducah, Ky., said he was critically wounded Saturday.
Later that day, however, other online communities began posting news of his death. Among them was Crossfit Wilmington, a North Carolina gym that calls Torian one of its original members.
The announcement of his death was quickly followed by an outpouring of condolences and praise for the Marine, remembered by those who knew the husband and father of three as diligent, dedicated and caring.
“He felt strongly about what we, the USA, were doing and we backed him 100 percent,” his mother Esta Smith told TV station WPSD 6 in Paducah. She told the station that her son will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In 2006, the former Reconnaissance Marine was named 2nd Marine Division’s 2005 noncommissioned officer of the year following what his commanders called a stellar performance during Operation Phantom Fury — the brutal 2004 fight to wrest control of Fallujah, Iraq, from insurgent control.
“This distinction recognizes Marines who excel in job performance, physical fitness and leadership skills, all traits Torian exhibited while participating in Operation Phantom Fury, the push through Fallujah, Iraq, in late 2004,” reads a 2006 Marine news release announcing the award. “Then a lance corporal, he said he worked around the clock, learning every weapon system to effectively lead his five-man unit through the insurgent-riddled streets.”
He was promoted from lance corporal to sergeant in just four months, according to the 2006 release.