U.S. Army Combat Photograher Captures Blast That Killed Her and 4 Afghan Soldiers

A portrait of U.S. Army combat photographer Spc. Hilda I. Clayton. Her last photo was published in the U.S. army journal Military Review to discuss gender equality in the army. (U.S. ARMY/HANDOUT/REUTERS)

The U.S. military released images taken by a combat photographer whose final picture captured the blast that killed her.

Specialist Hilda I. Clayton died in Langham province, Afghanistan on July 2, 2013 during a live-fire training exercise. She and four Afghan soldiers were killed when a mortar tube accidentally exploded during an exercise conducted with U.S. Army trainers.

Clayton, a Visual Information Specialist assigned to the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), was training one of the Afghan soldiers who was also a photojournalist.

A mortar tube accidentally explodes, killing four Afghan soldiers and U.S. Army photographer who took the photo, Specialist Hilda I. Clayton. The 2013 photo was released for the May-June issue of Military Review. (HILDA CLAYTON/HANDOUT/REUTERS)

The 22-year-old photographer was honored in the May-June issue of the U.S. Army journal Military Review as part of a feature on gender equality in the Army. The pictures were published with the permission of the family and the unit.

“Clayton’s death symbolizes how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts,” the journal stated. “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.”

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SOURCE: Newsweek, Sofia Lotto Persio