After a Pentagon review of the heroic actions of Ronald J. Shurer II, a Special Forces combat medic who braved an onslaught of gunfire to save the downed members of his team, it has been determined that Shurer’s Silver Star will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. President Donald Trump will present the award on October 1.
In April 2008, Shurer was in the Skok Valley in Afghanistan when his team was attacked by an enemy force consisting of over 200 fighters. Shurer and his unit ended up battling against gunfire from snipers and machine guns as well as rocket-propelled grenades, according to a report by USA Today.
As the fighting waged on, Shurer rushed through enemy fire to treat a downed soldier, and then proceeded to sprint, bullets hot on his heels, as he attempted to catch up with the section of his unit that was closest to the fight.
It took him over an hour to reach them.
During his attempt to rejoin a portion of his unit, Shurer killed several insurgents along the way, and then treated four critically wounded soldiers upon his arrival, dodging gunfire as he moved between them.
According to his commendation, Shurer managed to evacuate the injured soldiers down a near-vertical 60-foot cliff, all while shielding them from gunfire and falling debris.
After loading the wounded onto a helicopter, Shurer assumed command of this squad and reentered the fight.
His actions are recognized for saving the lives of his team, according to a White House Statement.
In 2009, Shurer was honorably discharged and joined the Counter Assault Team with the Secret Service. In 2014, he was assigned to the Special Operations Division.
The upgrade recommendation by the Pentagon is the result of a large-scale review that was ordered by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in 2014. The decision to reexamine the heroic actions of numerous service members was based on Hagel’s assessment that the standards for receiving the Medal of Honor were overly stringent during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.