Toppen, Aaron, PVT2

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Last Rank
Private E-2
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
2013-2014, 11B10, 12th Infantry Regiment /2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment
Service Years
2013 - 2014

Private E-2

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MAJ Mark E Cooper (ATWS Senior Military Advisor) to remember Toppen, Aaron, PVT2.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Gaza Village, Afghanistan

Casualty Date
Jun 09, 2014
Hostile, Died
Accidental Homicide
Transition I (2011-14)
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord 4th Infantry Division

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
OIF/OEF Fallen
  2014, OIF/OEF Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award


 Unit Assignments
4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division12th Infantry Regiment /2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment
  2013-2014, 11B10, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
  2013-2014, 11B10, 12th Infantry Regiment /2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  2014-2014 Transition I (2011-14)
 Colleges Attended 
Joliet Junior College, Joliet IL
  2013-2013, Joliet Junior College, Joliet IL
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Mokena soldier killed in Afghanistan: 'The bravest man I know'
A 19-year-old soldier from Mokena was among five U.S. servicemen killed in southern Afghanistan in an apparent friendly-fire air strike during a security operation, according to his family.
Military officials showed up at the home of Aaron Toppen close to midnight Monday and told his mother that he died as his unit clashed with insurgents, according to relatives.
"My mom's doorbell rang and we received the news that my little brother was one of the five involved in friendly fire in Afghanistan," Toppen's sister, Amanda Gralewski, posted on her Facebook page. "My brother lost his life doing what he always wanted to do since he was a little boy. He's my biggest hero and the bravest man I know."
Officials said Toppen's unit had just returned from an operation in Zabul province's Arghandab district when they were hit Monday.
"Troops were returning to their bases after an operation when they were ambushed by the insurgents. The air strike mistakenly hit their own forces and killed the soldiers," local police chief Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai told Reuters.
A Pentagon statement said investigators were "looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen."
Toppen had been sent to Afghanistan just a little more than three months ago. A saying posted on his Facebook page reads, "I stand between the innocent and harm not because I should ... but because I can."
Toppen grew up in Mokena and attended Lincoln-Way East High School. He also studied at Joliet Junior College before joining the Army, according to his Facebook page.
As he prepared to ship out earlier this year, his father Ronald Toppen posted a message to his son:
"Today is one of the hardest days of my life. My son Aaron Toppen leaves today to return to Colorado to prepare for his deployment to Afghanistan ... I would ask everyone to keep Aaron in your prayers. He is doing what he has wanted for a long time and for that I am so proud ... Thank you soldier, you make me proud. God is with you, we are all with you. Please hurry home."
Ronald Toppen died in February, about a month before his son landed in Afghanistan.
"This already was a difficult year with my dad passing in February," Gralewski wrote. "And now my family is left trying to figure out how to handle this ... As much as I'm questioning my faith at this point, all I can do is rely on prayer and hopefully it can get us through this.
"My deepest sympathies to the other four families who received this news this morning," she added. "Aaron Toppen, you are the most amazing man I know. I will forever hold you in my heart and never forget the man you were. Nineteen years old, making choices in life that are nothing but courageous. I love you Bud."
An aunt, Nina Winter, said relatives planned to meet with reporters at Toppen's family home in Mokena this evening.
Saint Johns United Church of Christ Cemetery
Will County
Illinois, USA
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