Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne will be awarded the military’s highest medal of valor in combat on September 11th, 2020 because of his selfless actions during a raid in October of 2015. Payne says “time was of the essence” considering the hostages were likely to be executed soon and if they did not act fast, lives would be taken away. After some setbacks such as a fail to blast open the compound, the team was met with much enemy resistance, but Payne successfully led and was able to free the first 40 hostages. During the raid, Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler was killed in the attempt to rescue the Kurdish forces. Payne was able to secure bolt cutters to cut the last locks and free the remaining 30 hostages.
The Crossroads of Special Operations