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Medal of Honor recipient, WSU graduate laid to rest at Arlington

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 28, 2020

Modified Military Funeral honors with funeral escort are conducted for U.S. Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon; soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard); and the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own;” conduct modified military funeral honors with funeral escort for U.S. Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, October 27, 2020.  (Elizabeth Fraser/U.S. Army)
Modified Military Funeral honors with funeral escort are conducted for U.S. Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon; soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard); and the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own;” conduct modified military funeral honors with funeral escort for U.S. Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, October 27, 2020. (Elizabeth Fraser/U.S. Army)

Ronald Shurer, a Washington State University graduate who earned the nation’s highest military honor in 2018, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday.

During the 2008 battle in the Afghanistan’s Shok Valley, Shurer, a Special Forces medic, scaled a mountainside under fire to reach the wounded members of his unit. He was shot in the arm and another bullet hit his helmet.

In 2018, as Shurer battled Stage 4 lung cancer, President Donald Trump presented Shurer the Medal of Honor. He died May 14 at 41.

Miranda Shurer described her husband as an “unprecedented man,” at his funeral mass Tuesday at the Church of the Nativity in Burke, Virginia, Military.com reported.

She said she had recently been telling their sons, Cameron, 12, and Tyler, 9, about her husband’s dedication to his role. During their first Christmas together as a couple, Ron gave her a big teddy bear.

“Sometimes he would use that teddy bear to practice checking for wounds and calling in a helicopter evac. That was pretty adorable,” she said.

Before becoming a Green Beret and father, Shurer grew up in Puyallup. He was a 2001 WSU business graduate. It was during graduate school in Pullman that9/11’s tragedy inspired him to join the military.

In 2009, Shurer left the Army and joined the Secret Service, working at the White House to protect the president. Despite his cancer diagnosis in 2017, Shurer continued to report to the White House when he was strong enough.

Sgt. Maj. Matt Williams, who also earned the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Shok Valley, said that Shurer “was a mentor first, and then a teammate and then a friend.”

“Ron was the type of guy who would do anything for anybody and he always put himself last,” Williams said.

Shurer was also a man of faith, Father Bob Cilinski, who attended Shurer’s medal of honor ceremony, said at the mass. Cilinski said he’d asked Shurer where he got the strength to keep going during the Battle of Shok Valley.

Shurer told him he said a prayer: “Dear God, watch over Miranda and my family and give me the strength to help others.”

“He lived out that call to love knowing and believing that you sacrifice for love,” Cilinski said.

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