Soldier who wore bodycam during daring hostage rescue in Iraq to receive Medal of Honor

A US Army Ranger and sergeant major has been tapped to receive the US Military’s highest honor for valor in combat, an upgrade from a previous award related to heroic acts performed during a 2015 raid.

Sergeant Major Thomas Payne, a member of the United States Army Special Operations Command, is receiving a level up from his previously awarded Distinguished Service Cross.

According to the Associated Press, the medal approval was confirmed by two anonymous officials within the Defense Department.

The awards surround the daring attempted rescue of over 70 hostages in an ISIS-controlled area of Iraq.

During the raid, around 10 to 20 Army soldiers, including Payne and Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, engaged the enemy in close quarters, resulting in Wheeler being killed.

Time was of the essence,” Payne said, according to a news release obtained by the AP. “There were freshly dug graves. If we didn’t action this raid, then the hostages were likely to be executed.”

During the engagement Payne repeatedly entered a burning building and fought off enemy fighters, repeating the process multiple times until every hostage was rescued.

The sergeant major is expected to be awarded the Medal of Honor later this year.

Payne enlisted in 2002 and won the Army’s Best Ranger Competition in 2012. He has been with the 75th Ranger Regiment most of his career.

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