SoCal native and US Marine dies in missile strike in Ukraine after joining front lines 15 months ago

Michelle Fisher Image
Friday, July 7, 2023
SoCal native and US Marine dies in missile strike in Ukraine
A Southern California family is shattered after a 32-year-old who served in the Marines died in a missile strike in Ukraine last week. He had been defending the country where he met his girlfriend on the front lines for 15 months.

Selfless, caring and adventurous.

Those are just some of the words used to describe 32-year-old Ian Tortorici, who graduated from Laguna Hills High School, served in the U.S. Marines and had voluntarily resigned from his job at ICE to go fight in Ukraine, a country he fell in love with some years before.

"He cared about other people, he was a patriot, but he also saw himself as a citizen of the world," said Tortorici's brother, Anthony Frank. "There are still men in the world who will answer a call when they are needed, and when people are suffering they will be there, that who he was."

Tortorici first visited Ukraine after he went backpacking through Eastern Europe. During his trip, he met his girlfriend and many friends. He had been fighting on the front lines for 15 months when he was killed in a missile strike that hit the city center of Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine.

"He just came off the line, he was at the restaurant with a couple of his teammates, from what I understand, he went to order food for everybody and that's when the missile went off," said Frank.

The blast killed a total of 11 people in Ukraine. It also left a family back here in Southern California shattered forever.

"He told me to take care of everyone, the family. So that's what I'm trying to do now," said Frank.

Frank said a service is scheduled for Tortorici in Ukraine on Tuesday. After that, his body will be flown back home, where he will receive a warrior's welcome.

Tororici's final resting place will be in Riverside at the National Military Cemetary.