Trump awards Medal of Honor to Army Ranger for hostage mission

Trump awards Medal of Honor to Army Ranger for hostage mission
© Getty

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act 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.


“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 EsperOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May 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 TrumpWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Ginsburg becomes the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol Rabbi memorializes Ginsburg: Her dissents were 'blueprints for the future' 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.