News: MARSOC Marine posthumously awarded Bronze Star for actions in Afghanistan
Story by Cpl. Donovan Lee
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – A critical skills operator with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command was remembered and awarded during a ceremony at Stone Bay aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 30.
Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian, a team chief with 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star Medal with a combat distinguishing device and a third Purple Heart Medal for his actions in Afghanistan.
More than 200 people crowded into the auditorium at the MARSOC headquarters here to listen as several of Torian’s friends spoke in his honor and to witness the awards presentation.
“What I admire most about Aaron was his relentless, competitive spirit; unrivaled work capacity and zest for life, family and friends,” said Charlie Goodyear, a long-time friend. “All these things made him an incredible Marine, friend, husband, and father to his family.”
Torian was mortally wounded while assigned as a team chief with Marine Special Operations Company Hotel, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force- Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Torian’s unit came under heavy machine gun and underslung grenade-launcher fire during an operation Jan. 29, 2014. Torian’s citation states, “Maneuvering across open terrain, he exposed himself to enemy fire in order to establish better satellite communications and observe the enemy’s maneuvers. He then effectively coordinated multiple rotary-wing close air support missions with rockets, guns, and a hellfire missile.”
Torians’s actions came as no surprise to his team members and his close friends.
“Some of the lessons that he (Torian) taught me were to work hard, be honest, value your friendships, and never think there isn’t a way to achieve success,” said a critical skills operator with MARSOC.
Torian, of Paducah, Ky., graduated Thomas Stone High School in 1995 and went on to attend the University of Tennessee-Martin where he played football. He then attended graduate school at Tennessee Tech University where he also served as the assistant defensive line and strength coach. Torian was awarded a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership in December 2002.
Torian enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman in March 2003 and subsequently completed the Basic Reconnaissance Course and was assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He Joined MARSOC in December 2006 and deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and three times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Those who knew Torian said he made a lasting impression on anyone he came in contact with.
“(Torian) set the standard for effort and intensity so high that you could do nothing but respect him,” said Goodyear. “Aaron demonstrated his love in many different and sometimes unconventional ways, but we are blessed to have known him, learned from him and been loved by him.”