Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer II

Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer II Bio Image

born

December 7, 1978

hometown

Puyallup, Washington

enlistment date

November 21, 2002

Military Occupation

18D Special Forces Medical Sergeant

unit

Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Company C, 3rd Battalion, Special Operations Task Force-33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan

campaigns

Operation Enduring Freedom V, VI, Afghanistan

Ronald J. Shurer II was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Dec. 7, 1978. The son of airmen, Shurer lived in Illinois and Idaho before his family was stationed at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. Shurer attended Rogers High School in Puyallup, Washington, where he was a member of the swim team and participated in triathlons and cycling.

Following his high school graduation in 1997, Shurer attended Washington State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics. Later that year, he enrolled in a master’s degree program at Washington State.

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Shurer was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, grandfather and parents by serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Shurer entered the U.S. Army in 2002 and was assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Area Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Command, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In January 2004, he entered Special Forces selection and reported to the Special Forces Qualification Course in June. After donning his green beret, Shurer was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group in June 2006. Shurer deployed to Afghanistan from August 2006 to March 2007, and again from October 2007 to May 2008.

After separating from the Army in May 2009, Shurer was hired by the U.S. Secret Service and was stationed in Phoenix, Arizona, to investigate financial crimes, perform advance work and protect the president, vice president and high-level dignitaries. In May 2014 he moved to Washington, D.C., as part of the U.S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team, the tactical team that works to suppress, divert and neutralize any coordinated attack against the president of the United States.

Shurer’s awards and decorations include the Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral “2,” the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Valorous Unit Award, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Special Forces Tab.

Shurer currently resides in Virginia with his wife and two sons.

Ronald J. Shurer II with his sons Cameron and Tyler, and wife Miranda, London, England, Aug. 2018. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Ronald J. Shurer II with his sons Cameron and Tyler, and wife Miranda, London, England, Aug. 2018. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer conducting a mission in Afghanistan, circa 2006. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer conducting a mission in Afghanistan, circa 2006. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer (back row, second from the left) and members of Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 waiting for exfiltration on a mission in Afghanistan, May 2008. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer (back row, second from the left) and members of Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 waiting for exfiltration on a mission in Afghanistan, May 2008. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

The Battle

Operation Commando Wrath | April 6, 2008 | Shok Valley, Afghanistan

3rd Infantry Division

3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Read Unit History

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II served as a medical sergeant with Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 3336, Special Operations Task Force-11, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan. On April 6, 2008, the ODA was on a mission to capture or kill high-value targets of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in Shok Valley, Afghanistan.

As the ODA navigated through the valley, a series of insurgent sniper fire, rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms and machine-gun fire forced the unit into a defensive fighting position.

Around that time, Shurer received word that his forward-assault element was also pinned down at another location, and the forward team had sustained multiple casualties.

Map depicting the Operation Commando Wrath insertion point in Shok Valley, April 6, 2008.

Map depicting the Operation Commando Wrath insertion point in Shok Valley, April 6, 2008.

“We don't go out on a mission where we don't expect to meet some resistance, but this was unlike anything we'd ever faced before.”

Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer II

Decisive Action

Map depicting the Operation Commando Wrath insertion point in Shok Valley, April 6, 2008.

Map depicting the Operation Commando Wrath insertion point in Shok Valley, April 6, 2008.

With disregard for his safety, Shurer moved quickly through a hail of bullets toward the base of the mountain to reach the pinned-down forward element. While on the move, Shurer stopped to treat a wounded teammate’s neck injury caused by shrapnel from a recent rocket-propelled grenade blast.

After providing aid, Shurer spent the next hour fighting across several hundred meters and killing multiple insurgents. Eventually, Shurer arrived to support the pinned-down element and immediately rendered aid to four critically wounded U.S. Soldiers and 10 injured Afghan commandos until teammates arrived.

Soon after their arrival, the team sergeant was severely wounded, forcing Shurer to run 15 meters through a barrage of gunfire.

A Target for Snipers

As he exposed himself to the enemy, snipers took aim at Shurer, shooting him in the helmet and wounding his arm. Shurer made it to his teammate’s location and pulled him to cover to render care.

“It felt like I'd been hit in the head with a baseball bat.”

Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer II

Moments later, Shurer moved back through heavy gunfire to help sustain another teammate who suffered a traumatic wound to his right leg.

For the next five and a half hours, Shurer helped keep the large insurgent force at bay while simultaneously providing care to his wounded teammates. Overall, Shurer’s actions helped save the lives of all wounded casualties under his care.

“It felt like I'd been hit in the head with a baseball bat.”

Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer II

Evacuation

Shurer also helped evacuate three critically wounded, non-ambulatory teammates down a near-vertical, 60-foot cliff – all while avoiding rounds of enemy gunfire and falling debris caused by numerous air strikes.

Shurer ingeniously used a run of nylon webbing to lower casualties while he physically shielded them from falling debris to ensure their safety.

Then-Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer (left) and then-Staff Sgt. Luis Morales preparing for a mission, Afghanistan, Nov. 2007. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Then-Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer (left) and then-Staff Sgt. Luis Morales preparing for a mission, Afghanistan, Nov. 2007. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II (right), and an interpreter, conducting fast rope training in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, March 2008. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II (right), and an interpreter, conducting fast rope training in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, March 2008. Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Shurer II.

“We used tubular nylon webbing to kind of wrap it around the guy's shoulders and lower them down to the next group. We did it as carefully as we could, to not cause further injury. And then, we just kind of repeated that process down the hill.”

Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer II

The Medal of Honor is presented to former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving as a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

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The Medal of Honor is presented to former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving as a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The Medal of Honor is presented to former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving as a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

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The Medal of Honor is presented to former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving as a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The Shurer family after the Medal of Honor Ceremony in honor of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving as a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anna Pol)

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The Shurer family after the Medal of Honor Ceremony in honor of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II at the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 1, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions while serving as a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anna Pol)

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II is inducted into the Hall of Heroes during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor, Oct. 1, 2018, for actions while serving a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anna Pol)

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Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II is inducted into the Hall of Heroes during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2018. Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor, Oct. 1, 2018, for actions while serving a senior medical sergeant with the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task-Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, April 6, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anna Pol)

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II is inducted into the Hall of Heroes during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2018.

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Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II is inducted into the Hall of Heroes during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2018.

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan inducts Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2018. DOD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

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Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan inducts Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Oct. 2, 2018. DOD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

“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.”

President Donald J. Trump

White House Ceremony, October 1, 2018

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.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II