WASHINGTON — A former Green Beret medic who fought his way up a mountain in Afghanistan in 2008 to aid other Special Forces soldiers and Afghan commandos will receive the Medal of Honor, the Army announced Friday.
Former Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II, who served with the 3rd Special Forces Group, will have his Silver Star upgraded to the highest military award for valor at a White House ceremony Oct. 1 for his actions on April 6, 2008.
On that day, Shurer was assigned to support Special Operations Task Force 33 working to take out high-value targets of the insurgent group Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in Shok Valley.
As the soldiers navigated through the valley, a firefight quickly erupted, with insurgent sniper fire, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms and machine gun fire forcing the unit into a defensive fighting position, according to an Army news release.
Shurer’s unit received word another forward-assault unit was also pinned down at another location and had sustained multiple casualties. He moved quickly through a hail of bullets toward the base of the mountain to reach the pinned-down unit. While on the move, Shurer stopped to treat a soldier wounded in his neck by shrapnel from a RPG blast.
Shurer spent the next hour fighting across several hundred meters and killing multiple insurgents before reaching the pinned-down unit and immediately aiding four critically wounded U.S. soldiers and 10 injured Afghan commandos.
Shortly after, Shurer and his unit’s sergeant were shot at the same time, though he still managed to run 15 meters through a barrage of gunfire to help his sergeant. Despite a bullet hitting his helmet and a gunshot wound to his arm, Shurer pulled his sergeant to cover and rendered care.
Shurer then moved back through heavy gunfire to help aid another soldier who lost his right leg.
For the next several hours, Shurer helped keep the large insurgent force at bay while simultaneously providing care to other wounded soldiers. Shurer’s actions helped save the lives of the casualties that day, according to the Army.
Using some nylon webbing that he found, Shurer also helped evacuate three critically wounded soldiers down a near-vertical 60-foot cliff, all while avoiding rounds of enemy gunfire and physically shielding the others from falling debris caused by numerous airstrikes.
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