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For his service in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Aaron C. Torian posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device and a third Purple Heart during a ceremony at Stone Bay at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., on June 30, according to information provided by the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command’s public affairs office.

Torian, 36, of Paducah, Ky., died Feb. 15 from injuries sustained during combat patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Torian was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

He received the bronze medal for his heroic service during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Torian, a 1995 graduate of Thomas Stone High School, was serving as team chief reinforcing an Afghan checkpoint Dec. 29 when his unit came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire when, according to the medal citation, “without regard for his own safety, he positioned himself on a dangerous but tactically advantageous checkpoint rooftop” to coordinate indirect and direct fires.

Torian’s unit came under fire again Jan. 29.

The 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.”

The citation went on to state, “By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Master Sgt. Torian reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

Torian joined the Marine Corps in 2003. He joined MARSOC in 2006 and was promoted to master sergeant in September.

About 200 people attended the ceremony including family and friends, according to information provided by MARSOC. Torian’s wife, Jurley Torian, accepted the awards.

Along with the Bronze Medal and this third Purple Heart, Torian’s awards include the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon with gold star, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with three stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

gphillips@somdnews.com