Four years ago, Specialist Hilda Clayton, a combat photography in the US Military was documenting a live-fire exercise in Afgjnishtan when a mortar tube accidentally exploded in front of her.
Clayton, aged only 22 was killed in the blast along with three Afghan National Army soldiers and an Afghan military photographer. At the moment the device exploded, Clayton took one last picture, and so did her trainee.
On Monday, the army published the images in its May-June issue of the Military Review, the army’s professional journal.
In a short write-up on the incident, Military Review praised Clayton’s service, saying she died documenting a “critical juncture” of the war in Afghanistan.
“The story was not in the fighting but in the partnership that was necessary between U.S. and Afghan forces to stabilize [sic] the Afghan nation,” Military Review wrote.
“Not only did Clayton help document activities aimed at shaping and strengthening the partnership but she also shared in the risk by participating in the effort,” the journal wrote. “Clayton’s death symbolizes [sic] how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts.”
Clayton’s family approved the release of the photos, as did her unit, Stars and Stripes reported.
Indeed the photos show the reality and horror of war. And we will continue to pray and support our troops wherever they may be in the world.
In honor of Clayton’s photography, Combat Camera honored Clayton by naming its annual best combat photography competition after her.