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Trump awards Medal of Honor to Army Ranger for hostage mission

Trump awards Medal of Honor to Army Ranger for hostage mission
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President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE on Friday awarded the nation’s highest military decoration to Army Ranger Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne, recognizing him for leading a 2015 raid that freed dozens of hostages held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

At a White House ceremony on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Trump introduced Payne as “a warrior who has devoted the last two decades to fighting the forces of terror” and recognized him with the Medal of Honor.

Trump talked about Payne’s decision to join the service at the age of 18 following the 9/11 hijackings. He described in some detail the raid that Payne led in October 2015 to free more than 70 captives held by ISIS militants in Iraq’s Kirkuk Province.

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“Pat, you embody the righteous glory of American valor,” Trump said during his remarks, before placing the medal on Payne. “We stand in awe of your historic, daring and gallant deeds. You truly went above and beyond the call of duty to earn our nation’s highest military honor.” 

Payne joined the U.S. Army in July 2002. He was trained as an Infantryman and became an Army Ranger the following year. Trump marveled Friday that Payne made an “astounding” 17 deployments; he deployed in support of missions including Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, Inherent Resolve and Resolute Support. 

Payne had previously been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his feats.

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperBiden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump Overnight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Former Trump Defense chief Esper to join McCain Institute MORE and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, in uniform, as well as other military officials were on hand for the ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Vice President Pence and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMissouri pastor faces backlash after suggesting wives should lose weight, strive to look like Melania Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions MORE were also in attendance. Payne was accompanied by his wife and their son.

Earlier Friday, Trump commemorated the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by traveling to Shanksville, Pa., to attend the annual Flight 93 memorial service, where he delivered remarks.