Then-Sgt. Aaron Torian questions Iraqi men during a 2006 deployment. Torian posthumously received the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device and a third Purple Heart June 30. (Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva/Marine Corps)
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A MARSOC critical skills operator who lost his life in combat in Afghanistan earlier this year was awarded the Bronze Star medal with combat distinguishing device and his third Purple Heart medal June 30.
Master Sgt. Aaron Torian, 36, of 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, was killed in a February improvised explosive device attack. He earned the military’s fourth-highest combat award for heroism in December and January during that same deployment.
Working as a team chief with Marine Special Operations Company Hotel, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force- Afghanistan Dec. 29, Torian’s unit was tasked with reinforcing a Afghan National Security Forces checkpoint “deep in hostile territory,” according to his medal citation.
The unit came under heavy machine gun and small arms fire, but Torian put the success of the mission ahead of his own safety. He fired on the enemy from an unprotected rooftop. In a later mission on Jan. 29, Torian’s unit again cam under enemy fire. He made his way across open ground amid enemy fire to get better satellite communication and a better view of the enemy’s movement, according to his citation. Later, he coordinated several helicopter missions, helping the armed aircraft to take out nine enemy fighters.