Sergeant Major (SGM) Thomas Payne

Today, SGM Thomas Payne received the Medal of Honor for actions taken during a daring raid in Iraq.

On the night of Oct 22, 2015, Delta Force operators in conjunction with Kurd forces, raided an ISIS prison compound after receiving intel that 70 hostages were to be executed.

Landing under heavy fire, the assault team approached the compound and began making entry in the 1st building.

They located the hostages in there and freed them. But an urgent call for assistance came from the first building, where another Delta Operator, MSG Wheeler, had been killed after charging towards enemy fire.

ISIS suicide bombers had begun detonating suicide vests in an attempt to stop them. The second building was on fire and on the verge of collapsing, with more hostages trapped inside.

SGM Payne risked his own life by entering the building under intense enemy fire, enduring smoke, heat, and flames to identify the armored door imprisoning the hostages. Upon exiting, he grabbed bolt cutters and again entered the building, ignoring the enemy rounds impacting the walls around him as he cut the locks on a complex locking mechanism.

After exiting to catch his breath, he reentered the building to make the final lock cuts, freeing 37 hostages.

Payne then facilitated the evacuation of the hostages despite being ordered to evacuate.

He then entered the building once more to ensure that every hostage had gotten out.

In the end, all 70 hostages were rescued and at least 20 ISIS fighters were killed during the operation.

SGM Payne will be the 3rd Delta Operator to receive the Medal.

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