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War Photographer Captures Final Image Before Bomb Kills Her And Four Others

A mortar accidentally exploded during a training exercise in July 2013. Picture: Hilda Clayton/US Army


The US army has released the photos that American war photographer Hilda Clayton captured when a mortar bomb accidentally exploded in front of her, killing both Clayton and four Afghan soldiers.

The accidental blast occurred during a live-fire training exercise in Afghanistan on July 2, 2013. The bomb exploded while she was documenting the mortar training.

The photographs taken by her were published in the Army’s Military Review-Journal after her family provided consent.




Hilda Clayton and four local soldiers were killed in the blast. Picture: Hilda Clayton/US Army

“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 article accompanying the photos in the journal says.

“The story was not in the fighting but in the partnership that was necessary between US and Afghan forces to stabilize the Afghan nation.”


The visual information specialist died doing what she did best. Picture: US Army

Specialist Clayton was a member of the 55th Signal Company in Fort Meade, Maryland.  Clayton's unit has honored her by renaming its annual competition the Hilda I Clayton Best Combat Camera Competition. The Defense Information School has engraved her name into the Hall of Heroes. 

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