Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer is a retired United States Army Special Forces member and a recipient of the prestigious Medal of Honor. He earned his award for courageous action during the Battle of Shok Valley in Afghanistan in 2008.
Shurer was born on December 7, 1978, in Fairbanks, Alaska, and he spent much of his youth in the Pacific Northwest. He came from a military family, his father serving in the United States Air Force. Before Shurer joined the military, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, where he studied business administration. Then, following the 9/11 attacks, he enlisted in the United States Army and trained as a medic. Shurer deployed to Afghanistan to serve in Operation Enduring Freedom from late 2007 to early 2008. Toward the end of his tour, he engaged in activities that would earn him the Medal of Honor.
Medal of Honor Action
While in Afghanistan, Shurer served as a staff sergeant with the 3rd Special Forces Group. On April 6, 2008, he and his team attempted a raid in Shok Valley, Nuristan Province.
U.S.-Afghan forces launched a daring mission to hunt down the leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) in Afghanistan’s treacherous Shok Valley, an operation dubbed Commando Wrath. What ensued was an intense battle for supremacy that formed part of the strategic effort against insurgency and extremism during this period. At the start of the mission, Special Forces escorted Afghan commandos into the region by helicopter.
As Shurer and his team navigated the Shok Valley, they were assaulted by enemy combatants. Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin fighters had spotted the American helicopters and launched a counterattack. Then they advanced on the Americans with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Several SF service members died after taking hits, and given the steep terrain, the team could not retreat easily.
A grenade exploded, spraying one of Shurer’s fellow service members with shrapnel. Shurer ran through a storm of bullets to rescue him. Bravely aiming his rifle, Shurer took down several enemy snipers as he raced toward his injured comrade. He successfully provided medical aid to many wounded soldiers but took a bullet to the arm. Eventually, helicopters arrived to evacuate the American team. Shurer carried many wounded soldiers down the mountain, shielding them from fire and falling debris.
On October 1, 2018, President Donald Trump presented Sergeant Shurer with his Medal of Honor during a special ceremony at the White House. In 2009, Shurer received an honorable military discharge and joined the United States Secret Service.
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