President Trump is planning to award the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Sgt. Major Thomas Payne for his courage in leading a raid in Iraq that free 75 hostages. The White House praised Payne for his “speed, audacity, and courage.”
“Sergeant Payne’s extraordinary heroism and selfless actions were key to liberating 75 hostages during a contested rescue mission that resulted in 20 enemy fighters killed in action,” the White House said in a statement.
Payne will reportedly be receiving the award on Thursday.
Fox News explained that the solider “led an assault team during a nighttime hostage rescue mission in Iraq’s Kirkuk Province in October 2015.” The sergeant responded to assist clearing another building after the and his team cleared one and freed 38 hostages.
“Sergeant Payne knowingly risked his own life by bravely entering the building under intense enemy fire, enduring smoke, heat, and flames to identify the armored door imprisoning the hostages,” the White House said. “His courageous actions motivated the coalition assault team members to enter the breach and assist with cutting the locks,” the White House also said.
The Medal of Honor is the highest decoration a member of the military can receive.
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