A combat medic will receive the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor awarded, for “conspicuous gallantry.”
Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II was a medic with the 3rd Special Forces Group Airborne in Afghanistan went he went above and beyond the call of duty in April of 2008. Shurer aided “four critically wounded U.S. and 10 injured commandos under intense fire during combat in Afghanistan. At least twice, he dashed into the open to treat a wounded soldier,” it was reported in 2009.
Shurer was originally awarded the Silver Star but that awarded was upgraded upon further review, the Military Times reported.
He will be honored at a White House ceremony Oct. 1.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shurer Fought His Way Up a Mountain During a Firefight to Save Fellow Soldiers
During Operation Enduring Freedom, in April of 2008, Shurer was assigned to “support Special Forces operators working to take out high-value targets of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in Shok Valley,” it was reported.
As the special forces team team traversed the valley region, a firefight broke out after “a series of insurgent sniper fire, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms and machine gun fire forced the unit into a defensive fighting position.”
Shurer was informed that the “forward assault element was also pinned down at another location, and the forward team had sustained multiple casualties.”
Shurer did not hesitate.
2. Shurer Gave Medical Aid to Special Forces Soldiers & Afghan Commando Partners
It’s reported that “With disregard for his safety, Shurer moved quickly through a hail of bullets toward the base of the mountain to reach the pinned-down forward element. While on the move, Shurer stopped to treat a wounded teammate’s neck injury caused by shrapnel from a recent RPG blast.”
After he provided medical assistance to fellow soldiers, he fought against, and killed, insurgents. After an hour fighting, it was reported, he went to help “the pinned down element” and immediately provided medical treatment to “four critically wounded U.S. units and 10 injured commandos until teammates arrived.”
3. Shurer Was Shot But ‘Ran Through a Barrage of Gunfire’ to Help His Sergeant, Also Shot
Shurer and his sergeant were shot and he ran 50 feet through a firefight to help his commanding officer. “Despite a bullet hitting his helmet and a gunshot wound to his arm, Shurer pulled his teammate to cover and rendered care,” it was reported.
The Military Times reported he then went back through gunfire to provide medical care to a brother who’d “suffered a traumatic amputation to his right leg.”
Shurer spent hours helping to keep the massive insurgency “at bay while simultaneously providing care to his wounded teammates. Shurer’s actions helped save the lives of all wounded casualties under his care.”
Beyond any call he did not stop: Shurer evacuated three critically wounded soldiers “down a near-vertical 60-foot cliff, all while avoiding rounds of enemy gunfire and falling debris caused by numerous air strikes …(and) found a run of nylon webbing and used it to lower casualties while he physically shielded them from falling debris.”
4. The U.S. Army Medic Was Awarded Silver Stars for Valor in 2009. Now, Nearly a Decade Later, the Army Has Determined he Deserves the Medal of Honor For Valor
It was reported in 2009 that the Washington State University graduate received the Silver Stars, “the third highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the U.S. armed forces and the third highest award given for valor in the face of the enemy.”
The Silver Star was awarded to Shurer for “awarded for actions during the global war on terrorism.” A very detailed account of the events of April 6 2008 can be found here.
“His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, Special Operations Task Force – 33, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.”
5. From Puyallup, Washington State, Shurer Was Written About in ‘No Way Out: A Story of Valor in the Mountains of Afghanistan’
Stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., Shurer earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WSU in 2001. He is a 1997 graduate of Rogers High School in Puyallup.
The book ‘No Way Out: A Story of Valor in the Mountains of Afghanistan,’ includes a dramatic and stunning chapter about Shurer and what he did that day in the Shok Valley.
“Shurer had requested this role. Nothing was more important – and challenging – then taking care of wounded soldiers in the field. It took more than a year of intense training to become a special forces medic, the medics usually had to perform their duties in desolate, dangerous areas, where medical help wasn’t readily available. It was a pressur-fiiled job. No doubt. But it was one that Shurer embraced.”