President Trump on Friday awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas Payne for his role in freeing 75 hostages from dozens of ISIS terrorists in Iraq.
The October 2015 operation near Kirkuk killed Payne’s Army Ranger colleague Joshua Wheeler, whose widow attended the ceremony at the White House.
“It was one of the largest and most daring rescue missions in American history,” Trump said in honoring Payne, who deployed 17 times for post-9/11 wars.
Trump regaled his Sept. 11 audience with an account of Payne’s heroism in freeing the Kurdish hostages. The Islamic State group had intended to slaughter the captives and bury them in freshly dug graves.
After freeing one group from a building, Payne and his men fought their way into a second building.
“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