Acts of Kindness
Medic who cared for wounded in Shok Valley awarded medal of honor for heroic actions
It’s a different kind of courage when you dedicate your life to saving others.
Elijah Chan
06.01.22

It’s a different kind of courage when you dedicate your life to saving others.

Any lesser man would’ve cowered at the sight of whizzing bullets and rockets.

But for the men and women of the armed forces, it is the exact moment where they rise above the rest.

And it’s a beautiful sight.

YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army

One such man won the hearts and minds of his brothers in arms by placing himself in danger just so others could live.

And in that valley in Afghanistan, one man’s mettle tipped the odds of life against death.

Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II.

He was one of those who answered the call after September 11.

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, Sgt. Shurer came from a line of servicemen. He didn’t jump into service immediately, however.

He went on to acquire a degree in business economics before the 9-11 attacks happened.

YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army

He joined the Army in 2002. Two years after, he started training to become a Green Beret, the Army’s Special Forces unit.

Sgt. Shurer was then deployed to Afghanistan, where his conduct will give him much honor.

It was April 6, 2008.

Sgt. Shurer was part of a team that launched an assault against a position in Shok Valley in northeast Afghanistan.

Their team included 15 Special Forces soldiers and Afghan commandos.

They landed in the valley where their unit broke into smaller groups. They pushed forward up a steep mountain and at that moment, all hell broke loose.

Around 200 insurgents opened fire on them.

They shot Shurer’s unit with sniper fire, small arms fire, and rocket-propelled grenades. It didn’t take long before their unit took in their first casualties.

The only medic.

As the team’s only medic, Shurer knew he had to do something. In the middle of the bullet storm, he followed the calls for help.

He pushed forward and stopped to treat an Afghan commando. This was only the start, however. The next few hours would be filled with constant danger.

He then continued up the mountain to treat a soldier wounded by shrapnel from a blast. After that, he joined a small team to neutralize a team of insurgents.

YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army

They finally reached a small hillside crest – the only thing standing between the insurgents and the lead elements of his team.

And in that small space, he treated two more US soldiers.

A bullet ricocheted off his helmet.

But instead of retreating, he stayed and treated other soldiers who were hit. He even used his body to cover other soldiers so he could shield them from debris and explosion.

Thankfully, two soldiers found a way to evacuate the wounded. It was not going to be easy, though, as the escape route was a near-vertical 60-foot-cliff.

Their progress was slow and careful even if they were being shot at. Eventually, their team successfully made their way down the valley.

Two Afghan commandos lost their lives but not a single American died that day.

YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army

When he reached the bottom of the mountain, he set up a casualty collection point and treated as many as he can. And instead of jumping into the first helicopter, he loaded his patients first before rejoining the fight.

His actions that day earned him the highest honor for a US soldier.

More than a decade after his encounter in Shok Valley, his Silver Star was upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

“This award is not mine,” he said, as quoted by the Department of Defense. “This award wouldn’t exist without the team. If they weren’t doing their job, I wouldn’t have been able to do my job.”

YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The U.S. Army

By the time he got the medal, however, he was already slowly succumbing to stage 4 lung cancer.

He passed away soon after but he will never be forgotten by the people he saved in that fateful day in Shok Valley.

Learn more about this hero in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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