Mother of fallen Marine: "He was an awesome young man"

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Web Editor - Nick Miller

PADUCAH - Esta Smith had 36 wonderful years with her son Aaron Torian.  He was a standout soccer, basketball and football player, earning a scholarship to play at UT-Martin.  But after September 11, 2001. Smith said Aaron had other ambitions.

"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.

Aaron rose through the Marine ranks quickly - earning the Non-Commissioning Officer of the Year award in 2006 at the age of 28.  "He was passionate about the Marine Corps - gave it every ounce of his being," Smith said.

Aaron was on his 6th deployment overseas when an improvised explosive device, or IED, detonated in Afghanistan Saturday - killing the father of three.  "He felt strongly about what we, the USA, were doing and we backed him 100 percent," Smith said.

Aaron wrote home earlier this year.  A hand written note sent to his mom at the end of January is one of the last letters Smith received.  In it, Torian thanked his parents for sending a care package and expressed his love for his family.

Smith told Local 6 Torian will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  He leaved behind a wife and three young children.

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