WATCH: Ranger-Turned-Operator Recounts How He Helped Rescue 70 Hostages in Daring Mission


Rangers lead the way, and that’s exactly what Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne did during a daring hostage rescue in Iraq on Oct. 22, 2015. For his actions that night, Payne will be receiving the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony on Sept. 11, 2020.

Then-Sgt. 1st Class Payne, a Ranger who hails from the 75th Ranger Regiment but now serves in a US Army Special Operations Command Special Missions Unit, was serving as an assistant team leader as part of a Special Operations Joint Task Force in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Their mission was to rescue more than 70 Iraqi hostages being held by ISIS in a prison compound in Hawija.

With knowledge of freshly dug graves awaiting the prisoners, the Task Force rushed to the objective in blacked-out helicopters alongside their Iraqi counterparts. Although the mission was successful, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler was killed in action after “running to the sound of guns.”

Payne tells the story of how it all went down that night in vivid detail in a video released by the US Army below. Oppressors beware.

Marty Skovlund Jr. is the founder and former executive editor of Coffee or Die Magazine. As a journalist, Marty has covered the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota, embedded with American special operation forces in Afghanistan, and has broke stories about the first females to make it through infantry training and Ranger selection. He has also published two books, appeared as a co-host on History Channel’s JFK Declassified, and has produced multiple award-winning independent films.
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