Alaska-born Green Beret war hero loses battle with cancer


Former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II, a Green Beret medic who received the Medal of Honor from President Trump in 2018 for his heroism during a long battle in Afghanistan, died Thursday after battling lung cancer. He was 41.

His most recent social media posts on Instagram said that he was being taken off a ventilator and was unsure if he would survive the procedure.

Shurer was born in Fairbanks, on Dec. 7, 1978. He was the son of Air Force personnel, and the family moved to Illinois and Idaho, before his parents were stationed at McChord Air Force Base, in Washington state, where he attended Rogers High School in Puyallup. As a young man, he participated in triathlons and cycling and was on the swim team of his high school.

Shurer attended Washington State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics. He enrolled in a master’s degree program at WSU, but after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, he followed the footsteps of his great-grandfather, grandfather and parents by serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Shurer entered the U.S. Army in 2002 and was assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Area Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Command, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

In January 2004, he entered Special Forces selection and reported to the Special Forces Qualification Course in June. After earning his green beret, Shurer was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group in June 2006. He deployed to Afghanistan from August 2006 to March 2007, and again from October 2007 to May 2008.

The Medal of Honor was awarded to him for his actions during an April 6, 2008 gun battle in Nuristan’s Shok Valley. Shurer was part of a team sent to capture or kill several high-ranking members of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin militant group warranted the nation’s highest valor award.

“This award is not mine. This award wouldn’t exist without the team,” Shurer said of the Medal of Honor, as quoted in The Army Times. “If they weren’t doing their job, I wouldn’t have been able to do my job.”

Shurer had been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral “2,” the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Valorous Unit Award, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Special Forces Tab.

After separating from the Army in 2009, Shurer was hired by the U.S. Secret Service and was stationed in Phoenix, Arizona, to investigate financial crimes, perform advance work and protect the president, vice president and high-level dignitaries.

In May 2014 he moved to Washington, D.C., as part of the U.S. Secret Service Counter Assault Team, the tactical team that works to suppress, divert and neutralize any coordinated attack against the president of the United States.

Read about Shurer’s heroic efforts during the battle in Afghanistan at Army Times.

Shurer leaves behind his wife and two sons.


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