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Trump awards Medal of Honour to US Army soldier who played key role in freeing 75 hostages

Washington: President Donald Trump on Friday awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour, the highest award for bravery in the US military, to Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas Patrick Payne for his key role in a Special Forces mission that rescued 75 hostages in Iraq.

“Pat, you personify the motto, ‘Rangers lead the way,'” Trump said before personally fastening the medal around Payne’s neck during a ceremony at the White House.

On October 22, 2015, during a daring night time hostage rescue in Kirkuk Province, Iraq, then-Sargent First Class Payne led a combined assault team charged with clearing one of two buildings known to house hostages.

“Sergeant Payne’s extraordinary heroism and selfless actions were key to liberating 75 hostages during a contested rescue mission that resulted in 20 enemy fighters killed in action,” the citation for the award said.

First Lady Milania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army General James McConville and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston were among those attending.

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