Special Agent Ronald Shurer II Receives the Medal of Honor

Special Agent Ronald Shurer II Receives the Medal of Honor


Staff Sergeant Ronald J Shurer II,
United States Army let us pray
God of all mercy we ask for both your presence and your peace for all those
gathered here this day we give you thanks for this celebration for this
redemption for this day to reflect on what you provide and what we need for reminding us of the dignity of life of service of sacrifice
and of true heroism. Inspire us Lord to hold fiercely to your gifts of hope and
grace and passion may the heroic acts of Staff Sergeant Ronald
Shurer move us all to greater acts of goodness of love to serve our soldiers
our families our nation and our world for it is before you that we humbly ask
these things and gratefully say Amen Thank you very much, and thank you Chaplain Hurley thank you
to Vice President Mike Pence for joining us for today’s ceremony. Today it’s my
privilege to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to an Army Special Forces
medic who now serves in the United States Secret Service please join me in
welcoming Staff Sergeant Ronald Shurer Thank you I wish I was that popular I’ll
tell you, today is a truly proud and 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 these are incredible people. Several weeks ago my
staff has Ron and his wife Miranda, thank you Miranda, to a meeting in the West
Wing. They didn’t know what it was about they walked into the Oval Office and I
told Ron that he was going to receive our nation’s highest military honor. It
was a moment I will never forget. Ron and Miranda joined today by their two
beautiful sons Cameron who is ten and Tyler who is seven. Stand up, look at
these guys. Cameron, Tyler, we stand in awe of your
father’s courage, we really do today he joins the world’s most elite gathering
of heroes also with us are his parents Ronald senior and his mom Fabiola, both
Air Force veterans, America is grateful for your service thank you very much
please stand, thank you. I want to thank also Secretary Nielsen
for joining us Secretary thank you very much along with
Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, Mark thank you very much.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva, thank you Paul.
Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, Mark thank you commander of Special
Operations Command General Raymond Thomas, thank you Raymond and Sergeant
Major of the Army Daniel Dailey thank you very much, thank
you very much. I also want to recognize representative
Gerald Connolly and representative Dan Newhouse, thank you very much for being
here I appreciate it. We are privileged to have among us five former recipients of
the Congressional Medal of Honor Bennie Adkins, Harvey Barnum, Gary Beikirch,
Florent Groberg and Brian Thacker and thank you all for being here, thank you very much for being with us
these are very brave great people. Staff Sergeant Ron Shurer was born in
Fairbanks Alaska he grew up in a military family moving to four states
before middle school he graduated from Washington State University and applied
to join the military but was rejected due to a medical condition. I can’t
believe they rejected you, well that was a bad mistake but they made up for it right?
They made up for it right? Soon after America was attacked on
September 11th, 2001. Determined to serve Ron reapplied to the
military and was accepted into the United States Army he became a medic and
then he completed the grueling training to join the legendary ranks of the Green
Berets, that’s a long way from not getting accepted the first time right?
That’s fantastic that’s a great story. It was during his Special Forces
training that Ron met Miranda just before Ron’s first deployment they were
married Miranda was six months pregnant with their first son Cameron when Ron
deployed to Afghanistan for the second time just a month before he returned
home Ron was called on a special operations mission the aim was to hunt
down a deadly terrorist a leader in that world he was in a remote mountain
village very dangerous territory. On April 6 2008 Ron was among the few dozen
Special Forces soldiers and 100 Afghan commandos who dropped off by helicopter
into Shok Valley, a rocky barren valley far away from reinforcements there is
nobody close. Ron was the only medic for the team, while he was still near the
base of the mountain the first team began to scale the cliff toward the
village. As they approached the top roughly 200
well-trained and well-armed terrorists ambushed the American and Afghan forces
soon Ron heard his comrade call his name Ryan Whelan had been struck by shrapnel
at the base of the mountain, he was very seriously hurt but Ron braved enemy
fire to rush to his friend and to treat his wounds
then he heard over the radio that American fighters near the top of the
cliff were pinned down and some were critically injured. There was blood all over
the place it was a tough, tough situation to be in.
Immediately Ron climbed the Rocky Mountain all the while fighting back
against the enemy and dodging gunfire left and right,
rockets were shot at him everything was shot at him when he reached the top one
of his close friends an Afghan interpreter was already dead two
Americans had been shot Dylan Bear and Luis Morales he treated
them both to stabilize them and their condition Ron threw his body on top of
Dylan to protect him from shrapnel it was there on that cliff that Ron
realized and I guess he felt pretty much like that was it right Ron but Ron
realized that this was probably the end, it might be all over and as he recounts I
just said a prayer and asked that my wife and son would be okay with what was
going to happen then I just went back to work. One of his teammates John Walden
was trying to protect the injured when he was shot almost severing his leg
entirely as Ron was still rendering life-saving aid to Dylan
he directed another soldier to help stem the bleeding then a bullet cut through
Master Sergeant Scott Ford’s arm and struck Ron’s helmet Ron said it felt
like he had been hit on the head with a baseball bat but he got up and in pretty
bad shape bandaged Scott’s arm. Soon Ron and his comrades used nylon webbing to
lower the most critically injured down the sides of this really dangerous and
very steep cliff when he reached the base of the mountain Ron raced to each
patient giving them life-saving care they were bleeding profusely and
preparing them to be evacuated by helicopter but Ron was not done yet. He
charged back to the mountain all the way up and then rejoined the fight for more
than six hours Ron and bravely faced down the enemy. Not a single American
died in that brutal battle thanks in great measure to Ron’s heroic actions.
Many of the warriors who fought in Shok Valley are here today, when I
read your name will you please stand Staff Sergeant Dylan Bear, Specialist Mike
Carter, Master Sergeant Scott Ford Sergeant First Class Seth Howard Staff Sergeant Luis Morales Sergeant Major Dan Plants Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Walton Sergeant First Class Matt Williams Sergeant First Class Carl Wosback and two wonderful Afghan translators
Behrouz Muhammad and Xia Gafoori. Thank you very much we really appreciate
it, he did a good job did he do a good job? better say yes now otherwise it’s
too late we can always change our mind he did a good job. Thank you all for your
noble service and for being here to celebrate Ron’s historic achievement it
truly is that, as many of you know a year and a half ago Ron was diagnosed with
cancer tough cancer, rough cancer but he’s braved, battled, worked, he’s done
everything he can to that cancer he’s been fighting at every single day with
courage and with strength and he’s a warrior he’s a warrior and just like he
faced every single 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 right do you agree with them yeah you
better say yes I already asked them that question they needed no prodding I said
is he a good father or a great father it’s a great father right, that’s good
the best father ever? Wow that’s great beautiful beautiful boys. And Ron I just
want to say as an inspiration to everyone in this room and to every
citizen all across our great land Ron our hearts are filled with gratitude
and joy as we prepare to engrave your name alongside of America’s greatest
heroes it is my honor and privilege along with Mike and all of these
incredible warriors in front of me to present you with the Congressional Medal
of Honor. I would like to ask the military aide to come forward and read
the citation please, thank you. The President of the United States of
America authorized by act of Congress March 3rd 1863 has awarded, in the name
of Congress, the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ronald J Shurer II, United
States Army for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty. Staff Sergeant Ronald J Shurer the second
distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and
beyond the call of duty on April 6 2008 while serving as a Senior Medical
Sergeant Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 Special
Operations Task Force 33 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
Staff Sergeant Shurer was part of an assault element inserted by helicopter
into a location in Afghanistan as the assault element moved up a near-vertical
mountain toward its objective it was engaged by fierce enemy machine-gun,
sniper and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The lead portion of the assault element
which included the ground commander sustained several casualties and became
pinned down on the mountainside Staff Sergeant Shurer and the rest of the trailing
portion of the assault element were likewise engaged by enemy machine-gun
sniper and rocket-propelled grenade fire. As the attack intensified he braved
enemy fire to move to an injured soldier and treat his wounds,
having stabilized the soldier he then learned of the casualties among the lead
element Staff Sergeant Shurer fought his way up the mountainside under intense
enemy fire to the lead element’s location. Upon reaching the lead element he
treated and stabilized two more soldiers finishing those life-saving efforts he
noticed two additional, severely wounded soldiers under intense enemy fire the
bullet that had wounded one of these soldiers had also impacted Staff Sergeant Shurer’s helmet. With complete disregard for his own life Staff Sergeant Shurer again
moved through enemy fire to treat and stabilize one soldier’s severely wounded
arm. Shortly thereafter he continued to brave
withering enemy fire to get to the other soldier’s location in order to treat his
lower leg which had been almost completely severed by a high caliber
sniper round. After treating the soldier Staff Sergeant Shurer began to evacuate the
wounded, carrying and lowering them down the sheer mountainside while moving down
the mountain he used his own body to shield and the wounded from enemy fire
and debris caused by dangerously close air strikes. Reaching the base of the
mountain Staff Sergeant Shurer set up a casualty collection point and continued
to treat the wounded. With the arrival of the medical evacuation helicopter Staff Sergeant Shurer again under enemy fire helped load the wounded into the
helicopter. Having ensured the safety of the wounded
he then regained control of his commando squad and rejoined the fight. He
continued to lead his troops and in place security elements until it was
time to remove the evacuation landing zone for the helicopter Staff Sergeant Shurer’s actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service
and reflect great credit upon himself, combined Joint Special Operations Task
Force Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central and the United States
Army. Ladies and gentlemen please remain in
your seats until the President has departed the East Room. Lord God we’re
encouraged by this by the selfless acts of Staff Sergeant Ronald Shurer. Send us
out to the work at hand for each of us with your grace for the
leadership, character and sacrifice that will honor you and honor the needs of
all those before us. Bless us, keep us, make your face shine on
us and be gracious to us may we all find both peace and contentment and the
knowledge of your love and in the promise of your presence. In your most
holy name we pray amen.

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