WASHINGTON — A Special Forces combat medic who braved gunfire in Afghanistan to save downed soldiers will receive the Medal of Honor after a review of his heroism prompted the Pentagon to recommend that his Silver Star be upgraded.
On Oct. 1, President Donald Trump will award the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, to Ronald J. Shurer. In April 2008, in Afghanistan’s Skok Valley, Shurer, a senior medical sergeant, and his team of commandos were attacked by snipers, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Shurer sprinted through enemy fire to treat one downed soldier, then faced more bullets to catch up with the portion of his unit closest to the fight. Once there, he treated four more wounded soldiers and carried them down the mountainside, using his body to shield them from bullets and debris kicked up by the rescue helicopter.
Shurer loaded the wounded soldiers onto the helicopter, took command of his squad and headed back to the fight. His actions saved the lives of his teammates, according to the White House statement.
He was honorably discharged in 2009, joined the Secret Service’s Counter Assault Team and was assigned to its Special Operations Division in 2014. He lives in Burke, Virginia, with his wife Miranda and sons Cameron, 10, and Tyler, 7.
In 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a review of citations for valor since the Sept. 11 terror attacks. That examination resulted in the upgrade of several medals, including the most recently awarded Medal of Honor. Last month, Trump made the award posthumously to Air Force Tech Sgt. John Chapman for his heroic fight in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2002.
Hagel’s review sprung from concern that the standards for conferring awards for valor had been overly stringent at the outset of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Chapman was the first airman to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.
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