sunny.png
Saturday November 28th, 2020 9:06AM

Trump bestowing Medal of Honor on soldier for hostage rescue

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will bestow the Medal of Honor on a U.S. soldier Friday for his role in a daring 2015 missio n to rescue dozens of hostages who were set to be executed by Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Trump picked the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to honor Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne, who negotiated a barrage of enemy gunfire and repeatedly entered a burning building in a harrowing effort that saved nearly 70 hostages.

The White House, in a statement, highlighted Payne's “small-town America” upbringing and his family's commitment to public service. The soldier grew up in Batesburg-Leesville and Lugoff, South Carolina. His wife Alison is a nurse, his father a police officer, and his two brothers serve in the Army and Air Force.

Payne was assigned to lead a team clearing one of two buildings known to house hostages in a nighttime operation in the northern Iraq province of Kirkuk. The Oct. 22, 2015, raid quickly became complicated.

Kurdish forces working with U.S. troops attempted to blast a hole in the compound’s outer wall, but the blast failed. The explosion alerted the ISIS militants, who opened fire on the Kurdish forces.

Payne, a sergeant first class at the time of the mission, and his unit climbed over a wall to enter the prison compound. The soldiers quickly cleared one of the two buildings. Once inside the building, the unit encountered enemy resistance. The team used bolt cutters to break the locks off the prison doors, freeing 38 hostages, according to the White House.

Moments later, an urgent call over the radio came from other task force members engaged in an intense gun fight at the second building.

Between 10 to 20 Army soldiers, including Payne and Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, headed toward the second building that was partially on fire. Kurdish commandos were pinned down by the gunfire.

Wheeler was shot and killed, the first American killed in action since the U.S. launched renewed military intervention in Iraq against the Islamic State in 2014. Twenty ISIS fighters also were killed in the operation.

The team scaled a ladder onto the roof of the one-story building under machine-gun fire. From their roof-top vantage, the commandos engaged the enemy with hand grenades and small arms fire, according to an official account.

At that point, ISIS fighters began to detonate their suicide vests, causing the roof to shake, Payne said in a statement.

ISIS fighters continued to exchange gunfire with the commandos as they entered the building. Once the door was kicked opened, both American and Kurdish commandos escorted about 30 more hostages out of the burning building.

Payne reentered the building two more times to ensure every hostage was freed. He had to forcibly remove one of the hostages who was too frightened to move.

Payne joined the Army in 2002 as an infantryman and quickly made his way into the Rangers. He has deployed several times to combat zones as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and in various positions with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

He was initially given the Army’s second-highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross, for the special operations raid, which was upgraded to a Medal of Honor. Payne received a Purple Heart for a wound sustained in a 2010 mission in Afghanistan.

___

Madhani reported from Chicago. AP Writer James Laporta contributed to this report from Delray Beach, Florida.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump bestowing Medal of Honor on soldier for hostage rescue
President Donald Trump is bestowing the Medal of Honor on a U.S. soldier for his role in a daring 2015 mission to rescue dozens of hostages set to be executed by Islamic State militants in Iraq
12:24PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Trump, Biden marking 9/11 with very different tones
One spent time quietly consoling families
12:24PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Assange court case to resume after COVID-19 false alarm
WikiLeaks says the London court hearing on founder Julian Assange’s extradition from Britain to the United States is set to resume after a COVID-19 test on one of the participating lawyers came back negative
12:12PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump, Biden commemorating 9/11 at memorial events
One spent time quietly consoling families
11:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
Poll: Pandemic takes toll on mental health of young adults
A new poll has found that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a harsh toll on the mental health of young adults in the United States
10:59AM ( 1 hour ago )
Veteran House incumbents cling to seats as districts evolve
Much of the focus in this year’s fight for House control will be on freshmen Democrats who captured Republican-held seats in 2018
10:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump, Biden marking 9/11 with very different tones
One spent time quietly consoling families
12:24PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Assange court case to resume after COVID-19 false alarm
WikiLeaks says the London court hearing on founder Julian Assange’s extradition from Britain to the United States is set to resume after a COVID-19 test on one of the participating lawyers came back negative
12:12PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Images of 9/11 attack, porn interrupt voting machine hearing
A federal court hearing on a challenge to Georgia’s voting machines was interrupted Friday when someone began posting video and symbols in the live Zoom session, including a swastika, images from the Sept. 11 attacks and porn
12:11PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Hyundai warns owners to park outside, recalls 180,000 SUVs
For the second time this month, Hyundai is telling some SUV owners to park outdoors because an electrical short in a computer can cause vehicles to catch fire
11:56AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Trump's talk of secret new weapon fits a pattern of puzzles
President Donald Trump is expanding his arsenal of spectacular but hard to explain claims about U.S. military might
11:53AM ( 46 minutes ago )