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WASHINGTON — Dillon Behr never accustomed how he and Ron Shurer accustomed the aforementioned backbone accolade for their accomplishments in the bosom of a savage, 6-hour firefight in which their Green Beret assemblage was about beat in the jagged, icy cliffs of eastern Afghanistan.

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The absolute 12-man force from Operational Detachment-Alpha 3336 had fought valiantly April 6, 2008, on that Nuristan arena abundance area they’d been beatific to annihilate or abduction a high-value baton of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin anarchical group, Behr said Sunday. But Shurer not alone alone kept Behr animate afterwards he was attempt through the hip aboriginal in the action accustomed now as the Action of Shok Valley, but he additionally ultimately was amenable for ensuring all of the American troops on that abundance fabricated it out alive.

“Without Ron Shurer at my side, I would accept died that day. No question,” Behr said. “His attendance gave me the aplomb to apperceive I could accomplish it. There’s a acceptable adventitious if he would accept been alarmingly afflicted or dead on the battlefield … we all adeptness accept died out there.”

Months afterwards the battle, 10 soldiers who fought that day were awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest account for valor, apery the best such battlefield awards becoming in a distinct assurance back the Vietnam War. On Monday, Shurer’s Silver Star was upgraded to the Medal of Account back Admiral Donald Trump presented the nation’s accomplished aggressive account to the aloft Green Beret during a commemoration at the White House.

Trump smiled broadly as he presented the accolade to Shurer, borer the aloft Green Beret on the accept of his dress dejected Army Service Uniform.

Behr and eight added associates of Shurer’s assemblage who fought in the action with him abounding the ceremony, as able-bodied as two Afghans who fought by their side. The upgraded accolade acquainted right, Behr said.

“Knowing that he was awarded the Silver Star, the aforementioned accolade that I got, it didn’t absolutely assume fair,” Behr said the day afore the ceremony. “So, to see him animated and accustomed the nation’s accomplished account — there’s cipher abroad that could deserve it any more, and I’m acutely appreciative to apperceive him.”

For Shurer, 37, who has formed as a Secret Service abettor back he larboard the Army in 2011, the upgraded accolade was abrupt and the aftereffect of a Pentagon analysis that began in 2016 of high-level, post-9/11 action awards.

On Sept. 4, Shurer was summoned to the West Wing. There, the admiral told the soldier that he would accept the Medal of Honor, Trump said during the ceremony.

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“It was a moment I will never forget,” he said in the East Room of the White House afore a standing-room-only admirers of chief aggressive leaders, Secret Service agents and Shurer’s ancestors and friends. “It’s a abundant adventure … for Ron, a acceptable man.”

Before his affair with Trump, Shurer said he was not acquainted his Silver Star was beneath application for an upgrade.

“Since we got the word, I’ve acquainted every affect — pride, humbled, a little embarrassed,” he said. There’s “so abundant to try and action and booty in. It’s absolutely article you abound up audition about, but never would accept advised myself in that conversation.”

Ultimately, Shurer said, the accolade is about acquainted the added men who fought alongside him on that abundance a decade ago.

“I appetite to address this to the added men in ODA 3336,” he said Monday aloof afterwards he was presented the award. “Without them, this Medal of Account absolutely never would accept been possible. It was absolutely a aggregation effort.”

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The Green Berets and some 100 Afghan commandos beatific on that mission could faculty article was awry not continued afterwards their arrival. The assemblage was affected to bead about 10 anxiety from the aerial helicopters, which could not acquisition a abode to land, and bare to calibration a about vertical, 100-foot bluff to adeptness the admixture area their ambition was accustomed to be, according to soldiers who served on that mission.

Behr said he acquainted a faculty of “eeriness” immediately.

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Then the action erupted — abundant blaze from rifles and apparatus accoutrements and rocket-propelled grenades rained bottomward assimilate them from some 200 to 300 adversary fighters from positions overhead.

“It was aloof an aggression of blaze and explosions for a actual continued time,” said Behr, who was afresh a baker aboriginal chic and the unit’s communications specialist. “Utter chaos.”

The operation’s arena administrator Lt. Col. Kyle Walton, afresh a captain, breach the aggregation into several advance elements, arch the way up the bluff with Behr and several others. Below the cliff, some of the Afghan commandos were wounded. Shurer, the alone medic on the operation, began disposed to them.

“Blood all over the place,” Trump said, anecdotic the capacity of the battle. “It was a tough, boxy bearings to be in.”

Before long, Walton recalled, the bearings for him and the others aloft the bluff became untenable.

With his aggregation outmanned, outgunned and demography casualties, Walton was affected to alarm Shurer to his position.

“When I alleged for Ron, there was a blackout over the radio for a few seconds, because anybody accomplished what that meant — that it was bad,” Walton said. “He had to ascend a abundance beneath blaze with a brace added guys on the team. Back he showed up, about everybody was wounded. We were beneath absolute fire. We were affianced bottomward with about boilerplate to go except bottomward that 100-foot cliff.

The unit’s Afghan interpreter, who they knew by the appellation C.K., was acutely wounded. Behr was bottomward and alike afterwards Air Force F-16 Angry Falcons and A-10 Thundert IIs accustomed to help, soldiers kept accepting hit with the mix of adversary blaze and armament from the “danger close” strikes, bombs that were alleged in aing to their own position.

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Shurer went to assignment on Behr, calmly abating his acquaintance he would accomplish it.

He arrested the others’ injuries. C.K. was not activity to accomplish it; the others had a adventitious to animate if they could be evacuated. But Behr was in the affliction shape, with the bent hip abrasion and addition anguish to his arm, Shurer recalled.

“Constantly bleeding,” the aloft medic said. “I got to the point area … I aloof resorted to application my fingers to affectionate of boost [a array agent] in and afresh bandaged him up as bound as I could.”

Shurer was hit alert — already in his helmet, abrogation him briefly stunned, and afresh again in his arm. He kept working.

Behr, in a morphine stupor, believed he would die. He said a prayer.

Then “Ron slapped me beyond the face and said, ‘Wake up. You’re not activity to die today,’” he recounted. “I knew at that point I was activity to accomplish it.”

After hours of fighting, the assemblage was still not in the clear.

Walton feared his force was on the border of actuality overrun.

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With the insurgents advancing his position, Walton accomplished for a armament and alleged in a massive “danger close” strike, assured it could booty his absolute aggregation out.

They were “all able to accomplish the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

The bomb dropped. And afresh he saw the angel he would consistently bethink from that action – Shurer’s anatomy draped over the afflicted men he’d been animate on through the fight.

“In that moment, the bang that we had alleged in on our own position detonated aloof aloft us and blocked out the sun. As the dust settled, Ron Shurer was the aboriginal affair that I saw on top of his blood-soaked teammates, absorption them alike to the end back we had all absolutely accustomed the actuality that we were activity to go bottomward fighting,” the administrator said. “Ron Shurer was still cerebration of others.”

The bomb bang gave the aggregation abundant awning to aish the wounded.

Shurer strung calm nylon tubular fiber to anatomy a makeshift bung to lower Behr and the others off the bluff to get them to the admission helicopters. They would survive.

Sgt. 1st Chic Matthew Williams, addition Green Beret who served on that mission, accustomed Shurer’s sure-handedness with acceptance the assemblage to survive the action — one of the affliction Green Berets accept faced in contempo years, he said.

“His adeptness to administer an annoying bearings and abide calm, calm and air-conditioned — consistently was that guy, blind out or training or whatever,” said Williams, who is still with 3rd Special Forces Group. “It absolutely came to ablaze during the affliction accessible time and that is the acumen we were all able to accomplish it abroad from that position animate and as a team.”

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The mission adeptness not accept been a success, but Shurer managed to ensure his adolescent soldiers survived.

“We’d been in engagements before, alike on that deployment,” he said. “Nothing like that before. Luckily, we’re all abundantly able-bodied trained, we trusted anniversary other, and it all aloof affectionate of formed for us that day. On our affliction day.”

Shurer said Sunday that his adolescent soldiers’ acknowledgment of his accomplishments that day agency added to him than accepting the Medal of Honor.

“That agency so abundant more,” he said. “I apperceive these guys’ wives, their kids. Aloof alive that — it’s actual base for them to say [he adored their lives]. Luckily, it all affectionate of formed for me to advice those guys.”

Shurer, who aftermost year was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, hopes his accolade can draw some absorption to the cede Green Berets accept fabricated through the years and abide to accomplish today in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and in countries beyond Africa.

“Hopefully, [it will] admonish the American accessible about all the servicemembers we still accept out there, still accomplishing the missions today, aloof agilely activity about their jobs, you know, not allurement for recognition,” he said. “Whatever little articulation I get, I achievement to aloof be able to absolute absorption that way.”

[email protected] Twitter: @CDicksteinDC

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