In January 2016, the Pentagon ordered the armed services to conduct a sweeping review of medals of valor awarded since the 9/11 terror attacks. Officials directed service leaders to determine whether individual military members had been shortchanged in the medals they received. As a result, former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II’s Silver Star was upgraded to the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty. Shurer fought through an enemy ambush, saving his teammates’ lives 10 years ago in Afghanistan.
Shurer was as a Green Beret medic with Fort Bragg’s 3rd Special Forces Group. He joined the Army in 2002 and was deployed with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan for six months, from November 2007 to May 2008. Shurer was one of 10 members of his unit to receive Silver Stars for their heroics. He was honored with the nation’s highest award for valor by President Donald Trump Oct. 1.
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, the White House said. 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 up the mountain to the rest of the lead element. There, Shurer treated and stabilized four more wounded soldiers before evacuating them aboard medic helicopters.
The Green Berets honored for their heroism in the Battle of Shok Valley represented the largest set of citations for a single battle since the Vietnam War. After the citations were read, the then-commander of Fort Bragg’s U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr., stated:
“There is no finer fighting man on the face of the earth than the American soldier. And there is no finer American soldier than our Green Berets. If you saw what you heard today in a movie, you would shake your head and say, ‘that didn’t happen,’ but it does, every day.”
Shurer was honorably discharged in May 2009 and went on to serve with the U.S. Secret Service. He was eventually assigned to its Special Operations Division. Shurer lives in Virginia, with his wife and two sons.
Photo: Former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Churer, II