Trump Awards Medal of Honor to His Own Secret Service Agent

  • trump-presents-shurer-moh-1800
    President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II for actions in Afghanistan, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) -- The Associated Press
  • President Trump Presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to Ronald Shurer II, a former Army Green Beret. (Screenshot from DVIDS livestream)
    President Trump Presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to Ronald Shurer II, a former Army Green Beret. (Screenshot from DVIDS livestream)
  • The White House announced that Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II will receive the Medal of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty April 6, 2008, while in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. (Courtesy photo from Ronald J. Shurer II)
    The White House announced that Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II will receive the Medal of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty April 6, 2008, while in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. (Courtesy photo from Ronald J. Shurer II)
  • The White House announced that Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II will receive the Medal of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty April 6, 2008, while in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. (Courtesy photo from Ronald J. Shurer II)
    The White House announced that Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II will receive the Medal of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty April 6, 2008, while in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. (Courtesy photo from Ronald J. Shurer II)

President Donald Trump on Monday awarded the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II, a Secret Service agent who is now fighting a battle with cancer.

"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," Trump told a crowded room filled with Shurer's family, fellow soldiers and Army senior leaders.

Trump then told the story of Shurer's bravery as a Green Beret on a daring April 6, 2008, mission in the Shok Valley of Afghanistan to "hunt down a deadly terrorist, a leader in that world … [who] was in a remote mountain village."

"Ron was among two dozen Special Forces soldiers and 100 Afghan commandos who dropped off by helicopter into Shok Valley, a rocky barren valley, far away from reinforcements," Trump said.

The assault force encountered no enemy activity during the 1,000-foot climb to their objective, but as the lead element approached the target village, "roughly 200 well-trained and well-armed terrorists ambushed the American and Afghan forces," he said.

Shurer, the mission's only medic, immediately began treating wounded. He then sprinted and climbed through enemy fire to reach several of his teammates who were pinned down on a cliff above.

"There was blood all over the place," Trump said. "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 gun fire left and right. Rockets were shot at him, everything was shot at him."

After treating and stabilizing two more soldiers, Shurer was struck in the helmet by a bullet that had passed through another soldier's arm. He was stunned by the blow but quickly bandaged the soldier's arm.

"He continued to brave withering enemy fire to get to [another] soldier's location to treat his lower leg, which had been almost completely severed by a high-caliber sniper round," according to the award citation.

Shurer then helped evacuate the wounded down the mountainside so they could be loaded aboard helicopters.

He rejoined his commando squad and "continued to lead his troops and emplace security elements" until it was time to leave the area, the citation states.

"For more than six hours, Ron bravely faced down the enemy; not a single American died in that brutal battle thanks in great measure to Ron's heroic actions," Trump said.

A decade later, Shurer is fighting another battle -- this time with stage 4 lung cancer. More than 500 people have joined his cause and are attempting to raise $100,000 for his family through a GoFundMe account.

"A year and a half ago, Ron was diagnosed with cancer -- tough cancer, rough cancer," Trump said. "But he's braved, battled, worked; he's done everything he can ... he's been fighting it every single day with courage and with strength. And he is a warrior."

Shurer was initially awarded a Silver Star for performing heroic feats in 2008. Trump described how he upgraded that award to the Medal of Honor after hearing his story.

"Several weeks ago, my staff invited Ron and his wife Miranda to a meeting in the West Wing," the president recounted, as Shurer sat in his Army dress blue uniform. "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 Trump said he will never forget.

"Ron, our hearts are filled with gratitude as we prepare to engrave your name alongside of America's greatest heroes," he said. "Ron is an inspiration to everyone in this room and to every citizen all across our great land."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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