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Medal of Honor Recipient and Green Beret Ron Shurer Succumbs To Cancer at Just 41 Years Old

A legend like Ron Shurer wasn’t supposed to go this way. It’s a mistake in the matrix of life that must be righted. A man who put his life on the line countless times in combat’s most bloody fields can’t be lost to the world because of cancer. A man whose citation reads this way, can’t be gone at the age of 41.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Shurer II 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, Staff Sergeant Shurer braved enemy fire to move to an injured Soldier and treat his wounds. Having stabilized the injured Soldier, Staff Sergeant Shurer 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 lifesaving efforts, Staff Sergeant Shurer 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, Staff Sergeant Shurer 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, Staff Sergeant Shurer used his own body to shield the wounded from enemy fire and debris caused by danger-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, Staff Sergeant Shurer then regained control of his commando squad and rejoined the fight. He continued to lead his troops and emplace security elements until it was time to move to 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.

But, that’s the reality. A few months ago I had a conversation with Ron about coming on Zero Blog Thirty. He said that he would as soon as he was recovered and feeling up to it. Life can be so cruel and death’s first breath can be closer than we imagine possible. Ron should have lived as the legend he was and not just because he was a Medal of Honor recipient. 

His country will remember him as a heroic warrior who accomplished unimaginable feats of bravery. His name is forever etched on our country’s long list of remarkably gallant warriors. Ron’s combat action is the central theme of the novel that was his life but his family will remember the gentle soul behind his eyes. His children will know of his bravery and courage but they’ll miss the hugs, laughs, and lessons of wisdom.

On ZBT we talk about our war stories being kept in the library of our minds. The table of contents in Ron’s book of life is now complete and the book simply wasn’t long enough. I’m disappointed I never got to have that in-depth conversation with Ron. I guess it will have to wait until the dining table in Valhalla.

Fair winds and following seas, brother. Fuck Cancer.