Medal of Honor recipient shares his incredible rescue story

Sgt. Maj. Thomas Patrick Payne recalled the mission that rescued 75 Iraqi hostages.
3:41 | 09/16/20

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Transcript for Medal of Honor recipient shares his incredible rescue story
Last week, our next guest received the medal of honor. Our nation's highest medal for valor. It's an honor to welcome sergeant Thomas Patrick Payne. Thank you so much for being with us. And we know that you're a ranger in the U.S. Army, special operations command. Tell us what it was like, I can only imagine standing there in the east room of the white house, the president presenting you the medal of honor. Take us back to that moment. Yes, ma'am, thank you for having me. It was a pretty special moment for me and my teammates the 9/11 generation. I've never told my son the whole story. The first time he heard the whole story was when the president was giving the speech. Pretty special moment for us. Congratulations, an honor well deserved, and we'd love to hear that story. It was about 2015 mission in Iraq, you freed 75 Iraqi hostages, tell us about the mission. Our mission was to get the hostages rescue on October 22nd in 2015. Based off the intelligence we received, they reached out to the United States forces for assistance. It was our duty to assist our partners with that hostage You freed hostages from a first building and then you went to a second building that was on fire and in danger of collapsing, so tell us what you did to free the hostage. Was a mission coming from the building, there was a fire, as soon as we were able to make entry into the building, the building was starting to collapse, so there was a call for mandatory evacuation, so we had hostages inside when the building started to collapse, being engaged by the enemy and the building was starting to collapse, so it -- time was of the essence and we were able to liberate. That second chance of life, what was the reaction of hostages when you came in and freed them from that burning building? You know, at that time, it was our duty to get them out and complete the mission, you had to separate emotions from that feeling, you know flying back -- flying back that's when it hit me for the first time, what did we just do? My legacy of my teammates in the 9/11 generation will live on in this medal. You think of the selfless actions of my teammates to put the lives of the hostaging above their own. You just gave us both chills, Dr. Jen and I are both listening to your heroism. And that of your teammates as well. What were the hostages, what were their reactions like when they saw you? In the first building, you see the faces light up, some are crying and some are happy and they realize they're being liberated in the first building. Incredible. I should point out, you're not only the only hero in your house, your wife is a nurse who actually came here to the new York area this spring to help with covid-19 relief. Tell us about your wife. She's an amazing woman. We come from a family of service. As you said my wife's a nurse, she had the opportunity to serve her country fighting against covid-19 and she had an opportunity to serve on Long Island, I believe at St. Joseph's hospital. I'm proud of my wife's service. We're certainly grateful for her service, we're grateful for your service. We're so honored have you on our program today. Sergeant, thank you so much very much for sharing your story. We wish you and your family continued blessings.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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