Sgt. Maj Thomas Patrick Payne received a Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump for his part in the raid that rescued over 70 hostages from an Islamic State jail compound.
The Delta Force soldier was given the prestigious valor award at the White House on September 11.
The ceremony makes Payne the first living Delta Force member to receive the honor.
Payne, 36, was awarded for his role in the 2015 raid where he and his comrades managed to rescue Iraqi hostages who were set to be executed by militants in Iraq.
“Today he joins the immortal company of our most revered American heroes,” Trump said in the event. “Pat, you personify the motto: ‘Rangers lead the way.’”
Payne was joined at the ceremony by his supportive wife Allison and their 6-year-old son.
Ashley Wheeler, the wife of Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler, who passed away in the raid, was also present at the White House ceremony.
“He ran right back into that raging blaze. He sliced the final lock and released the rest of the hostages,” Trump said of the 2015 mission.
“As the building began to collapse, he received orders to evacuate but he refused to do so. He didn’t want to leave anyone behind.
“Pat ran back into the burning building that was collapsing. Two more times. He saved multiple hostages and he was the last man to leave.”
70 hostages were saved and 20 ISIS militants died in the operation.
Payne also paid tribute to Wheeler and told Military.com at the Pentagon: “Master Sgt. Wheeler is an American hero, and we are lucky to have men like Josh in the United States Army.
“At the beginning of the raid, our Kurdish partner force was caught in perfect interlocking sectors of fire and began taking casualties. Master Sgt. Wheeler knew what had to be done and didn’t hesitate.”
Payne also praised his team members who ‘put the hostages’ lives above their own.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section and SHARE this story with your friends and family!
Recommended Video For You!
“Squatters Steal Soldier’s Home, Then His Brothers In Uniform Show Up To Serve Up Justice”