WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has bestowed 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.
Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne was assigned to lead a team clearing one of two buildings known to house hostages in a nighttime operation in the northern province of Kirkuk. Payne and his team faced a barrage of gunfire, militants exploding suicide vests and stifling smoke as they rescued hostages from a burning building.
He was initially given the Army’s second-highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded to a Medal of Honor.