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Ronald Shurer, Medal of Honor recipient, dies at 41

The White House announced that Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II will receive the Medal of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty April 6, 2008, while assigned to Special Operations Task Force - 33 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. (Ronald J. Shurer II/U.S. Army)
May 15, 2020

Former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ron Shurer II, who President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor in 2018, succumbed to cancer on Thursday at 41 years old, according to a U.S. Army press release.

Shurer, a former Green Beret, was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2017, and had detailed the past year-and-a-half of his battle on Instagram

“We are heartbroken by the passing of one of our own, SSG Ron Shurer II. Ron was the embodiment of the SF soldier, a dedicated husband, and a loving father. His heroic actions were an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts are, and always will be, with his family,” the U.S. Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group tweeted of Shurer’s passing.

“De Oppreso Liber,” the unit’s tweet continues, echoing the Green Beret motto, meaning “to liberate the oppressed.”

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A native of Fairbanks, Alaska, Shurer joined the U.S. Army in 2002 and became a combat medic with the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Area Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Command, at Fort Bragg, N.C. In 2004, he entered Special Forces selection and became a Green Beret with the 3rd Special Forces Group. Shurer eventually deployed to Afghanistan from August 2006 to March 2007, and again from October 2007 to May 2008.

On a 2008 mission, Shurer’s unit was sent to take out a high-value member of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin insurgent group in Afghanistan when they came under heavy machine gun, rocket and sniper fire. Over the hours that followed, Shurer fought across hundreds of mountainous terrain, killing several insurgent fighters as he worked to give aid to critically wounded U.S. soldiers and Afghan commandos.

In total, he gave aid to four U.S. soldiers and 10 Afghan personnel. For his actions, Shurer was first awarded the Silver Star, but in 2018 was awarded the Medal of Honor.

“For more than six hours, Ron bravely faced down the enemy. Not a single American died in that brutal battle, thanks in great measure to Ron’s heroic actions,” Trump said of Shurer’s actions that day.

In October 2019, Master Sgt. Matthew O. Williams, another Green Beret in Shurer’s unit, was also presented with the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle. Shurer was present for his teammate’s ceremony and was recognized along with seven other past Medal of Honor recipients.

After separating from the Army in 2009, Shurer went on to work with the U.S. Secret Service. He first served with the agency’s Phoenix, Ariz. field office investigating financial crimes and performing advance work to protect the President, Vice President and other high-level officials visiting. In May 2014, he transferred to Washington, D.C., as part of the U.S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team, the agency’s tactical team that works to suppress and divert coordinated attacks against the President.

“Today, we lost an American Hero: Husband, Father, Son, Medal of Honor Recipient – Special Agent Ronald J. Shurer II. From a grateful Nation and Agency – your memory and legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace,” the U.S. Secret Service tweeted in recognition of his passing.