Former Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Shurer II, who served as a combat medic, will receive the Medal of Honor in an Oct. 1 White House ceremony. Shurer earned the honor during a 2008 fight in Afghanistan’s Skok Valley, during which he is credited with rescuing wounded comrades. He was serving with Operational Detachment Alpha 336, 3rd Special Forces Group, at the time. The Army first recognized his bravery with a Silver Star medal. After an internal review, service officials decided his actions merited the nation’s highest award for valor in combat.
Official records show that his unit came under attack by 200 enemy fighters. While the attackers fired at them with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, more than half of his team sustained wounds. Recognizing their plight, Shurer scaled the rock face of a mountain in order to reach the casualties. He had to fight his way to them while braving enemy fire for more than an hour.
Even though he was shot in the helmet and arm, Shurer nevertheless rescued four “critically wounded” U.S. soldiers and 10 Afghan army commandos. Despite his wounds, he continued to treat the casualties for more than five and a half hours. On three occasions, he helped three wounded comrades make their way down a 60-foot cliff.