On Friday, September 11, President Donald Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Major Thomas “Patrick” Payne of the US Army. He received the USA’s highest military honor for his brave act of rescuing ISIS hostages in 2015. He completed one of the most dangerous missions in the history by rescuing 75 hostages from a North-Iraq prison.
While presenting the award, the President says that Payne is one of the bravest men all across the world. In the same speech, Trump highlights that the soldier’s courageous act led to 20 terrorists’ killing. He adds that Payne will join the honorable company of the bravest heroes of the country from now onwards. Sgt. Major Thomas “Patrick” Payne justifies every word of the US Army Motto that says, “Rangers Lead the way.”
Sgt. Major Thomas “Patrick” Payne is 36 years and is the first person in the Delta Force whom Trump awards the Medal of Honor. During the event, Payne shared his thrilling experience of the October 2015 mission. He describes it as a life or death situation in which his only goal was to save every person inside.
Trump awards the Medal of Honor for a historic hostage rescue
Payne recalls that his team of soldiers was appointed to free the hostages in one of the buildings. The more dangerous part was that there were graves dug freshly inside the building compound. So, if he did not release the hostages on time, the terrorists were planning to execute them.
When Major Payne’s team landed on Kirkuk Province, the enemy army’s retaliation with random firing was hard to dodge. Eventually, Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler, a delta force operator in Payne’s team, died in an open fire. Ashley, his widow, came for Payne’s award ceremony. When the group was successfully ending the first mission, Payne rushed once again. It was into another building as a response to an emergency call. Till then, the rescue team had already released 38 hostages.
The second round of the hostage rescue operations
The mission of the US Army, along with the Kurdish forces, is one of the bravest hostage rescues to date. Now, the second building was a more dangerous place, and the enemies had already set it on fire. However, Major Payne went inside it to rescue the hostages without caring for his own life.
While the building was already collapsing, Payne’s determination was growing. It was when he was continually receiving evacuation orders, but he did not leave the people there. He went back twice and rescued more people, being the last one to leave the building. Finally, after five years, Trump awards the Medal of Honor to Major Payne on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The bravery of soldiers during the 9/11 attacks was inspiring for young men like Payne, who then went on to serve the country. Major Payne graduated from a South Carolinian high school to join the army in 2002. He was initially an infantryman 11B who went on to complete the introductory airborne course within a year. Finally, in 2003, Payne completed the Army Rangers program and joined the forces formally.