President Trump has awarded Sgt. Maj. Thomas P. Payne with the Medal of Honor, the highest and most-prestigious military service medal, for his bravery and the successful rescue of at least 75 hostages held by the terror group ISIS.
During a ceremony held at the White House, Trump shared stories of Payne’s heroism starting with his very first heroic decision to enlist.
“Exactly 19 years ago today — on September 11th, 2001 — news of the attack on our nation’s great, great country — this was just an attack like has never happened to us. But it went through Pat’s high school — and went through his classroom,” the president said via BizPac Review.
Trump continued: “And Pat was sitting there, listening. His teacher solemnly told the students that their generation had a fight to win. They were going to fight and fight to win. In that moment, Pat was called to action. He knew that his country needed him.”
The president then shared that Payne nearly lost his leg when an enemy grenade exploded near him. The explosion seriously injured his leg, but the president joked that a leg injury was worth sparing his life.
“Well, that was probably not a bad wound then, was it? Huh? It was worth — I hope you’re going to say it was worth it. It was,” the president jokingly said via the report, noting Payne was not deterred by the injury but continued his military service career.
“Less than two years after being injured, Pat competed against some of America’s toughest warriors and won the prestigious Best Ranger Competition, among the most grueling physical contests anywhere in the country,” Trump explained.
Then came ISIS and Payne’s heroic rescue of 75 hostages.
“Pat was part of a team assigned to plan and conduct an operation to rescue over 70 Kurdish prisoners being held by ISIS barbarians in Iraq. The team soon received horrifying intelligence that the terrorists were planning to massacre their captives and bury them in freshly dug graves. Pat and his teammates raced into action,” the president said.
As BizPAc Review reports, Trump explained the rescue team left in the overnight hours on Oct. 22, 2015, and “boarded a helicopter and departed on a mission to free the hostages from two buildings guarded by dozens of ruthless and bloodthirsty ISIS terrorists.”
Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne, who risked his life to save dozens of hostages facing imminent execution by ISIS fighters will be awarded the Medal of Honor. For more information about Sgt. Maj. Thomas P. Payne's heroic actions, visit: https://t.co/kX4D5NNjrg pic.twitter.com/vSW5Z5tkJ7
— SecArmy (@SecArmy) September 5, 2020
“As soon as the ramp to his helicopter went down, Pat rushed into a blistering hail of gunfire. Pat and his team swiftly overpowered the enemy, secured the building, and freed 38 of the hostages,” Trump continued.
The team was “facing harsh resistance” but overcame it and successfully retrieved the hostages.
Speaking of Payne, Trump said: “He saw that the other building was on fire and he knew more of the hostages were still trapped inside. He and his team climbed up ladders to the roof and opened up fire on the enemy. Multiple ISIS fighters detonated suicide vests, ripping a portion of the building into pieces.”
“But Pat and his fellow Rangers fought through the fire, the bullets, and the deadly blasts. Pat navigated to the front door and saw the captives were being held behind a metal door secured by two very heavy padlocks. He grabbed a pair of bolt cutters and ran through smoldering flame and smoke,” he continued.
“[H]e didn’t want to leave anyone behind,” Trump said, describing that Payne went into the burning building at least two other times to search for additional hostages.
The mission was completed, BizPac Review reports:
In the process, he and his team wound up saving 75 hostages and killing 20 ISIS terrorists, thus making it “one of the largest and most daring rescue missions in American history,” according to the president.
Baddest of asses https://t.co/GDd9aLYzCV
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) September 11, 2020