A graduate of Washington State University will receive the Medal of Honor on Monday at the White House.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer was serving as a medic with the 3rd Special Forces Group in the Shok Valley of Afganistan, where his team was fighting key members of Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin, a militant group battling U.S. and coalition forces.
According to an Army news release, the Special Forces unit was taking heavy fire from snipers and rocket-propelled grenades in April 2008 when Shurer moved “through a hail of bullets” to reach the team. Shurer began treating a soldier’s neck wound inflicted by an RPG blast, then fought and killed multiple insurgents and provided aid to four more American soldiers and 10 injured Afghan commandos. A bullet hit his helmet and he was also shot in the arm, the news release stated. Despite his injury, he pulled a soldier to cover and treated him.
Shurer then helped evacuate three wounded soldiers down a 60-foot, near-vertical cliff “while avoiding rounds of enemy gunfire and falling debris caused by numerous airstrikes.”
Shurer, who is originally from Puyallup, graduated from WSU in 2001 with a business economics degree and enlisted in the Army in September 2002 in Spokane. In 2006, he was promoted to staff sergeant and served with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan from November 2007 to May 2008.
He originally received the Silver Star for his actions during the April 6, 2008, mission in the Shok Valley, the Army reported, but a further review led to the decision to upgrade it to the Medal of Honor.
Shurer will be the second person with ties to the Spokane area to receive the Medal of Honor for meritorious service in Afghanistan. Ty Carter, a 1998 North Central High School graduate, received the Medal of Honor in 2013 for his actions in the defense of Combat Outpost Keating in October 2009.
Honorably discharged from the Army in May 2009, Shurer became a Secret Service Special Agent and now lives in Burke, Virginia, with his wife and two sons, according to a news release from the White House.
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