I Salute You; Marine Master Sergeant Aaron C. Torian 

Mankato Times Marine, Master Sergeant Aaron C. Torian, Paducah, Kentucky, Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, tribute, obituary, hero, Mankato Times

Marine Master Sergeant Aaron C. Torian, 36, of Paducah, Kentucky died Feb. 15, 2014 in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was conducting training with Afghan soldiers on how to handle improvised explosive devices (IEDs). When the soldiers encountered a problem, Torian ran to help, but the IED exploded. 

Master Sergeant Aaron C. Torian was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

A native of Paducah, Kentucky, Aaron was born June 28, 1977 and was a 1995 graduate of ThomasStoneHigh School, in Waldorf, Maryland, where he was a standout baseball and football student athlete. He was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee-Martin where he graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance. While a graduate assistant football coach at Tennessee Tech University, he met the love of his life, Jurley Pomeroy, to whom he is married. He completed his master’s degree in Instructional Leadership in 2003, and later that year, joined the US Marine Corps. 

Aaron was a faithful member of CollegeAcresBaptistChurch in Wilmington, North Carolina. As a community volunteer, he served on the University of North Carolina Wilmington baseball grounds crew and at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church annual Greek festival. 

Craig Guice, classmate and friend of Aaron, said he was not surprised to read of all of Aaron’s achievements. 

“He wanted to be the best at whatever he did,” Guice said “He was one of those guys who was bigger than life.” 

Henry E. Lackey High School Principal James Short and football coach remembered Aaron from his days on the football field where he was a member of the offensive line. 

He was “very talented and very energetic,” Short said “A very good kid and very competitive.  He was well-liked among his teammates.” 

Esta Smith had 36 wonderful years with her son Aaron Torian.  

“He called me one day. I was working and he said, ‘mom I just completed my physical.  I joined the Marines.’  I couldn’t believe it.  But I was proud at the same time,” she said. 

In 2006, Aaron 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. 

Aaron opted not to become an officer. It wasn’t because he didn’t like the officers, but because he liked being part of the action; he liked being one of the guys.  In 10 short years, he earned the rank of E-9, a remarkable feat which tells that he was in the right career, just one that was cut too short. 

There is a touching article in the Ukiah Daily Journal about a person who met Aaron last year, before he was promoted from Gunnery Sergeant to Master Sergeant in September: 

Last summer I had the opportunity to meet Aaron at a family barbecue in Santa Rosa. It was a pleasant evening; Aaron talked about his life in the Marine Corps, and his most recent accomplishment of purchasing a home for his family. Aaron also talked about what he treasures the most: his wife, Jurley, and his children, Elijah, 9, Laura Bella, 4, and Avery, 2.

While Elijah and Laura Bella ran around the yard, Aaron talked about his new house. He liked the house because it was just far enough away from his Marine Corps base that when he got home he could stop being a Marine for a few hours, blend into the crowd while his family watched a movie, or focus on being a “great dad and husband,” he said. 

Aaron was respected and loved by everyone he met and with whom he worked. He was a loving and dedicated father, husband, son, brother and friend. 

Aaron is survived by his wife, Jurley, their sons, Elijah (9), and Avery (2), and daughter, Laura Bella (4), his mother and step-father, Esta and Jim Smith, his father, Joe Torian, brothers, Nathan and Hunter Torian and sister, Emily Torian, his Marine Corps family, and many other family members and friends. 

Master Sergeant Aaron C. Torian, I Salute You 

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