An Army Ranger who helped save 70 hostages during a 2015 raid on an Islamic State group prison compound in Iraq has been approved to receive the Medal of Honor, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday. Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne, will receive the nation’s most prestigious military decoration in a White House ceremony on Sept. 11, the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
H/T: Task & Purpose
More from the AP report:
“Time was of the essence,” Payne said, according to a news release obtained by the AP and not yet made public. “There were freshly dug graves. If we didn’t action this raid, then the hostages were likely to be executed.”
ISIS fighters continued to exchange gunfire with the commandos as they entered the building. Payne moved to open another fortified door. According to the press release, he managed to cut the first lock, but due to the heavy smoke from the fire, he had to hand off the bolt cutters to an Iraqi counterpart and retreat out of the building for fresh air.
After some time, the Iraqi partner also came out for fresh air. Payne grabbed the bolt cutters and re-entered the building to cut off the last lock. Once the door was kicked opened, both American and Kurdish commandos escorted about 30 more hostages out of the burning building that was about to collapse and under enemy gunfire.
Payne reentered the building two more times to ensure every hostage was freed. One of those times he had to forcibly remove one of the hostages who had been too frightened to move during the chaotic scene, said Payne in the press release.
Sgt. Maj. Thomas Payne was initially given the Army’s second-highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross, for the 2015 Iraq raid, which freed 70 hostages held by ISIS. It's now being upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Here's helmet cam footage of the raid. https://t.co/BFUwU2fA5l pic.twitter.com/hU07Jbgkgv— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) September 2, 2020
Army Ranger receives Medal of Honor for saving ISIS prisoners in raid - Business Insiderhttps://t.co/RhBGUZl66y— Rojname News English (@ROJNAME_english) September 3, 2020
#ThursdayThoughts #Heroes— ForgottenSoldiersOrg (@FSOWeCare) September 3, 2020
Army Ranger Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne will be receiving the Medal of Honor for his actions during a 2015 hostage rescue. The presentation will be held on September 11th. Read about his heroic actions here https://t.co/AlzuscNdDN
#BREAKING Scoop: @USArmy Ranger Sgt. Maj. Thomas Payne of @USASOCNews will receive the Medal of Honor for a 2015 Iraq raid that rescued 70 prisoners set to be executed by ISIS. President @realDonaldTrump will present the award to Payne on 9/11. https://t.co/BFUwU2fA5l pic.twitter.com/gy1TVxzwqT— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) September 2, 2020
SGM Thomas Payne, a Ranger, will receive the U.S. military’s highest honor for valor in combat in a White House ceremony set to be held on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.https://t.co/ODyeyxXoH5 via @BreitbartNews— God first 🙏 Patriot Always and MSU Spartan 4 Life (@mmdmdabbs) September 3, 2020