U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer, a Washington State University graduate, received the Medal of Honor on Monday at the White House. Shurer, originally from Puyallup, served as a medic with the 3rd Special Forces Group in the Shok Valley of Afganistan. He graduated from WSU in 2001 with business economics degree.
“Today is a proud and truly special day for those of us here in the White House because Ron works right here alongside of us on the Secret Service counter-assault team,” President Donald Trump said in his opening remarks.
He recounted the story of the Green Beret’s heroism, braving enemy fire to treat the wounded even after he was wounded, in eastern Afghanistan on April 6, 2008. He was part of an operation to fight key members of Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin, a militant group battling U.S. and coalition forces.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dillon Behr, also part of the 12-man force from Operational Detachment-Alpha 3336, spoke with Stars and Stripes about Shurer’s efforts on that day.
“Without Ron Shurer at my side, I would have died that day. No question,” Behr said. “His presence gave me the confidence to know I could make it. There’s a good chance if he would have been critically injured or killed on the battlefield … we all might have died out there.”
Shuher’s unit, including Behr, was present for the ceremony and recognized by the president.
Trump also noted that Shurer was currently braving a new battle with cancer. Stars and Stripes reported that Shuher was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
“Just like he’s faced every battle of his entire life, he’s facing a very tough battle right now with cancer, but I will tell you he’s the best dad and role model two boys could ever ask for,” Trump said, directing his attention to Shuher’s two sons, 10-year-old Cameron and 7-year-old Tyler. Trump told the children that we “stand in awe of your father’s courage.”
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