On Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to Ronald J. Shurer II (pictured above left, during his military years, and at right, at the White House) for conspicuous gallantry for actions he took in 2008 as a staff sergeant in the United States Army.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the government to members of the Armed Forces who show “gallantry and intrepidity while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States,” said a White House statement in announcing the award.
Shurer, 39, originally from Puyallup, Washington, received the prestigious award for the selfless actions he took on April 6, 2008, “while serving as a Senior Medical Sergeant, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” said the White House.
President Trump noted during the ceremony that Monday was “a proud and special day for those of us here in the White House because Ron works right here alongside us.”
Shurer is now with the U.S. Secret Service, noted Fox News.
“For more than six hours, Ron bravely faced down the enemy,” Trump said during remarks at the ceremony.
“Not a single American died in that brutal battle, thanks in great measure to Ron’s heroic actions.”
Ahead of officially awarding Shurer the honor, Trump explained that the Medal of Honor recipient was initially rejected from the military due to a medical condition — but after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, he reapplied and was accepted in the Army, and “he became a medic and a Green Beret.”
The president also shared that about one year ago, Shurer, a father of two, was diagnosed with cancer.
“He’s braved, battled, worked, he’s done everything he can, that cancer he’s been fighting it every single day with courage and with strength, and he’s a warrior,” Trump said. “He’s the best dad and role model two boys could ever ask for.”
Shurer was previously awarded a Silver Star for his actions, noted Fox News.
The White House shared the specifics of Shurer’s bravery in action. “Then-Staff Sgt. Shurer and his team were engaged by enemy machine gun, sniper, and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The lead portion of the assault element sustained several casualties and became pinned down on the mountainside. Then Staff Sgt. Shurer braved enemy fire to treat an injured soldier.”
The statement continued, “After stabilizing the soldier, he fought his way across a barrage of bullets and up the mountain to the lead element. Once there, he treated and stabilized four more soldiers.”
After treating the wounded, Shurer began evacuating them, carrying and lowering the wounded down the mountainside while using his body to shield them from enemy fire, noted the statement.
After he loaded the wounded into the evacuation helicopter, Shurer “retook control of his commando squad and rejoined the fight.”
The group was on a mission to “capture or kill high-value targets” in Shok Valley, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
During his early years, Shurer attended Rogers High School in Puyallup, Washington, and participated in athletics including the swim team, The Seattle Times reported.
He graduated in 1997 and went on to receive a degree in business economics from Washington State University in 2001.
Then the attacks of September 11 happened, changing the world — and many young people’s plans.
Guests in their seats in the East Room for Medal of Honor presentation to former Special Forces medic, Staff Sergeant Ronald Shuler, for valor under fire in Afghanistan in April 2008. He originally received a Silver Star, which today is upgraded to the Medal of Honor. pic.twitter.com/3LO4ycw8z0
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 1, 2018
“We always thought a lot about Pearl Harbor, and then after the 9/11 attacks I had a sense of obligation to sign up and serve,” Shurer said at a media roundtable on Sunday, said The Times.
On April 6, 2008, Shurer remembered being struck by the quiet of Shok Valley — until the enemy fire began.
“It felt like everything just opened up around us,” he said.
“Many of us would not be sitting here today if not for the heroic and selfless acts that Ron demonstrated that day and continues to demonstrate,” Lt. Col. Kyle Walton, mission detachment commander who served with Shurer, said during the roundtable, The Times noted.
Shurer’s parents both served in the armed forces and were stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington. His grandfather and great-grandfather also served in the military.
Shurer retired from the Army nine years ago and lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.
See the video below.