Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne joined the U.S. Army right after the horrific 9/11 terror attack. A desire to defend his nation from enemies was his inspiration. He received many awards and has been on numerous missions. Posted with the legendary Army Rangers, he endured 14 deployments before October 22, 2015.
He liberated 75 hostages under fire during a rescue mission in Hawija, Iraq. On September 11, 2020, he received the highest military award from the President. He received the award for heroism and selfless actions that were key to liberating 75 hostages. His story was featured by Goodnewsnetwork.org.
The South Carolina youth had joined the U.S. Army right after 9/11. He was a part of a crack team assisting Iraqi security forces. The mission was to rescue seven hostages held by the ISIS captors. The Kurdistan Government asked for help from the Iraqi Army.
A True Braveheart
Slowly inching forward amidst heavy enemy fire, Pat and his fellow rangers reached a building that held the hostages. The captives were behind a heavy metal door secured by two heavy padlocks. Time was short since the building was on fire and was collapsing.
Pat took a pair of bolt cutters and rushed forward, dodging bullets. He succeeded in cutting one of the bolts before he had to retreat due to the smoke and scorching heat. He received an order to evacuate but disregarding personal safety, went back to cut the second lock. Pat ran back into the burning building two more times. He saved multiple hostages, and he was the last man to leave. Twenty enemies killed in action.
Nation Honors Its Hero
The White House presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payn. The Congressional Medal of Honor citation also paid glowing tribute to the heroism displayed on a fateful day, October 22, 2015
Presently Payne is now assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.