President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne on Friday, a Ranger assigned to the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command Delta Force.
Payne led the special operations raid that took place in October 2015 in Northern Iraq, freeing 75 Iraqi citizens from Islamic State terrorists. Twenty-two terrorists were killed in the raid.
He was recognized for courage in the firefight with ISIS fighters and for rushing into a burning building during the raid with a pair of bolt cutters, thence freeing the prisoners inside.
“He wouldn’t leave, no matter what they said. No matter who ordered him to do it, he wouldn’t do it. He was the last one out,” Trump said. “It was one of the largest and most daring rescue missions in American history.”
The Medal of Honor is the most distinguished award in the United States for combat valor.