An Army Special Forces soldier will receive the Medal of Honor for fighting through an enemy ambush and saving his teammates' lives 10 years ago in Afghanistan, the White House announced Friday.
Former Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II, who had already received a Silver Star for his actions, will be honored with the nation’s highest award for valor by President Donald Trump during an Oct. 1 ceremony at the White House.
Shurer served as a Special Forces medic with 3rd Special Forces Group.
On April 6, 2008, Shurer and his team were assigned to take out high-value targets of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in Shok Valley, according to the Army.
As the soldiers moved through the valley, they were attacked by enemy machine gun, sniper and rocket-propelled grenade fire, according to the White House.
The lead assault element suffered several casualties and became pinned down on the mountainside. Shurer ran through enemy fire to treat a soldier who had been hit in the neck by shrapnel from an RPG blast.
He then fought for an hour through a barrage of bullets and enemy fighters and up the mountain to the rest of the lead element, the White House said.
There, Shurer treated and stabilized four more wounded soldiers before evacuating them, carrying and lowering them down the mountainside, using his body to shield them from enemy fire and debris, according to the White House.
He simultaneously fought the enemy and treated the wounded for several hours, including a teammate who had suffered a traumatic amputation to his right leg, according to the Army.
After loading the wounded soldiers into the medevac helicopter, Shurer took control of the remaining team and rejoined the fight.
Shurer was initially awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest award for valor. The award is being upgraded after an extensive review.
In January 2016, the Pentagon ordered the services to conduct a sweeping review of valor medals awarded since the 9/11 terror attacks and directed service leaders to determine whether individual military members were shortchanged in the medals they received.
Shurer joined the Army in 2002 and was deployed with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan from November 2007 to May 2008. He was honorably discharged in May 2009.
He went on to serve with the Secret Service, working as a special agent assigned to the Phoenix Field Office before being selected for the agency’s Counter Assault Team and assigned to its Special Operations Division.
He lives in Burke, Virginia, with his wife and two sons.
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.