Medal of Honor recipient speaks at Fort Sill

Fort Sill

FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) - Fort Sill and the Fires Center of Excellence hosted a Virtual Tour for a recent Medal of Honor recipient.

Many gathered on Friday in the Kerwin Auditorium and virtually as the Medal of Honor Recipient Sergeant Major Thomas Payne shared his experience with Fort Sill.

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Carter said selected Soldiers in attendance were able to ask SGM Payne personal questions about his journey and how he became such a strong leader.

“It’s a truly unique opportunity. Before we went live, General Kamper asked the audience how many folks have interacted with a Medal of Honor recipient and I think out of the auditorium of a hundred people, two folks raised their hand," Carter said.

The Medal of Honor is awarded based on heroic actions in the face of danger, and it’s the most prestigious award given in the United States Military.

“So he was involved in a hostage rescue operation in Hawija, Iraq in October of 2015 and his actions during that operation led to his receipt of the Distinguished Service Cross which was later upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor, which he was presented on September 11, just one week ago today,” Carter said.

One Soldier got the opportunity to ask Sergeant Major Thomas Payne what’s been some of his biggest obstacles throughout his time in the Army.

“In my mind, I was thinking he would say something more specific to his career, but his response was more generalized. So it made me think that his career correlates to my career. It’s not anything specific. All obstacles are the same. It’s your mindset, and how you choose to look at it and then persevere afterward,” Sergeant Kimo Laemoa said.

Carter hopes Fort Sill Soldiers will carry this moment with them for a lifetime.

“Now you’ve got a hundred folks that are going to go out to their next duty stations to include the hundreds and thousands that were dialed in watching from remote locations. All of those folks now are going to be those two people raising their hand," Carter said.

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