Former Army Staff Seargent Ron Shurer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in Afghanistan, has died at the age of 41.
In 2017 Shurer was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had lately been hospitalized at the Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. Shurer wrote on Instagram that he had been unconscious for a week. He also posted a picture of him and his wife, while he was connected to a ventilator.
“Very upset to write this… been unconscious for a week,” he said. “They are going to try and take it out in a couple of hours, they can’t tell me if it will work.”
The Secret Service posted the following on Twitter, “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.”
Shurer joined the U.S. Army one year after the 9/11 attacks and became a Special Forces medic (18D) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
President Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to Shurer for his actions in Afghanistan in 2008; that was Shurer’s second deployment in the country with the 3rd Special Forces Group.
During this deployment in the Shok Valley in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan on April 6, 2008, his unit was tasked to kill or capture Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the militant group Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG).
His unit came under machine gun, sniper, and rocket-propelled grenade fire as they made their way through the valley. Another element of the team, trying to maneuver toward the target from a different location, also came under fire and was pinned down. Several of the troops were critically wounded.
Shurer, disregarding his own safety, charged up the mountain while under heavy fire. It took him an hour to reach the four critically wounded Americans and 10 wounded Afghan commandos. He returned fire killing several insurgents along the way.
Once he arrived at the wounded troops’ position, he stabilized four of them while being wounded in the arm and taking a bullet in his helmet.
“It felt like I’d been hit in the head with a baseball bat,” Shurer said later in an interview.
Shurer then aided a man who had lost a leg and continued to treat the wounded, while still fighting off the insurgents for several hours. He then aided in lowering three wounded men down a near-vertical 60-foot cliff while under fire.
Shurer’s actions saved the lives of every man who was wounded on that day.
For his actions, Shurer was initially awarded the Silver Star, however, in 2016, the Pentagon conducted a review of all medals awarded for valor since the 9/11 terror attacks. Shurer’s award was then upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He received the award from President Donald Trump on October 1, 2018, in a ceremony at the White House.
“For more than six hours, Ron bravely faced down the enemy,” President Trump said at the award ceremony. “Not a single American died in that brutal battle, thanks in great measure to Ron’s heroic actions.”
Shurer deflected credit for the Medal to his team members. “This award is not mine. This award wouldn’t exist without the team. If they weren’t doing their job, I wouldn’t have been able to do my job,” he said in an interview.
Shurer left the Army in 2009. He joined the Phoenix office of the U.S. Secret Service. He was selected for the agency’s Counter Assault Team and assigned to its Special Operations Division in Washington, DC.
Shurer is survived by his wife Miranda, and sons Cameron and Tyler.