Ranger SGM to receive Medal of Honor, another packet moves closer

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Ranger SGM to receive Medal of Honor, another packet moves closer

I almost wrote about Alwyn Cashe's MOH moving forward yesterday, and then I got an email alert on this one:

An American soldier who helped rescue about 70 hostages set to be executed by Islamic State militants in Iraq has been approved to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during a daring 2015 raid, The Associated Press has learned.

Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne, a Ranger assigned to the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command, will receive the U.S. military’s highest honor for valor in combat in a White House ceremony set to be held on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks...

Payne and his unit climbed over a wall and entered the prison compound. The soldiers quickly cleared one of the two buildings known to house hostages. Once inside the building, the unit encountered enemy resistance. The team used bolt cutters to break the locks off the prison doors, freeing nearly 40 hostages.

Moments later, an urgent call over the radio was received from other task force members engaged in an intense gun fight at the second building.

Between 10 to 20 Army soldiers, including Payne and Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler maneuvered towards the second building that Payne said was a “heavily-fortified building, which was partially on fire.” Kurdish commandos were pinned down by the gunfire.

At some point in his attempt to rescue the Kurdish forces, Wheeler was shot and killed. Wheeler was the first American killed in action since the U.S. launched renewed military intervention in Iraq against the Islamic State in 2014. 20 ISIS fighters were also killed in the operation.

To be honest, I don't really know anything not in that article.  When I got the email that there was a new MOH I assumed (incorrectly oobviously) that Cashe's which received a nod last week had moved along at a very prolific rate.  I do vaguely remember when Payne won the Best Ranger competition though.

That story:

Defense Secretary Mark Esperthis week offered his support this week to a congressional campaign to award a Medal of Honor to a fallen U.S. soldier in Iraq.

Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and Michael Waltz, R-Fla. are seeking the honor for U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe, who died in 2005 after repeatedly entering a burning Bradley tank to rescue injured soldiers.

Cashe received a Silver Star medal for his actions, but the members of Congress have recommended an upgrade to the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. award for valor in combat.

Esper, in a letter on Aug. 24, said, "I agree that SFC Cashe's actions merit award of the Medal of Honor." He noted, though, that accommodations must be made to waive the requirement that the honor must be presented "within five years of the date of the act justifying the award."

I'm just really grateful that not only is Cashe apparently going to finally get his medal, but that the SGM Payne award also seems to indicate that they are starting to clear the logjam.  If you look at the number of MOH's from OIF and OEF and compare it to Vietnam, the numbers are seriously lagging.


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.