A graduate of Puyallup’s Rogers High School who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2018 died Thursday, according to the U.S. Secret Service.
Special Agent Ronald J. Shurer II was 41. Shurer had battled lung cancer for some time, and recent posts on his Instagram feed said he’d been hospitalized recently with complications.
President Donald Trump awarded Shurer the highest military honor for saving several wounded soldiers under fire in Afghanistan.
“Today, we lost an American hero: husband, father, son, Medal of Honor recipient — special agent Ronald J. Shurer II,” the Secret Service said on its Twitter feed. “From a grateful nation and agency — your memory and legacy will live on forever. Rest in peace.”
In 2008, Shurer’s Army task force was on a mission to capture or kill Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin targets in Afghanistan’s Shok Valley, the U.S. military said. The team came under fire while traveling through the valley. Rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire caused the task force to stop.
The team ahead was pinned down with multiple casualties. Shurer, a medic, made his way to the forward team while the gunfire continued. He stopped to treat a soldier with a shrapnel injury to the neck and returned fire, killing some, a military site dedicated to Shurer said.
When he reached the team, he treated four critically wounded soldiers and 10 Afghan commandos.
Staff Sgt. Shurer then ran 15 meters through gunfire to help another wounded soldier, the site said. His arm and his helmet were hit by snipers’ shots. Reaching the wounded soldier, Shurer pulled him to cover and began to treat him. He did the same for another soldier with a serious leg wound, the military site said.
For five and a half hours, Shurer alternated between holding off the enemy and treating the wounded. He fashioned nylon webbing into a cradle-like wrap to lower three critically wounded people down a 60-foot cliff while avoiding gunfire and falling debris, the site said.
Shurer attended Washington State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business economics. He enlisted in the Army after Sept. 11, 2001, and in 2006 was deployed to Afghanistan as a Green Beret.
After leaving the Army in 2009, Shurer worked with the Secret Service and lived in Virginia with his wife, Miranda, and their two sons.