Fallen combat camera soldier’s final images released after 4 years

Photos of a 2013 explosion in Afghanistan, taken by the combat camera soldier who died shooting them, have been released in the latest issue of Military Reviewshowing in harrowing detail the final moments of the photographer and the mortar crew she was documenting.

Spec. Hilda Clayton, a combat documentation production specialist (MOS 25V) assigned to the 55th Signal Co. (Combat Camera), was attached to the 4th Armored Bde. Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Div., in Laghman Provice, Afghanistan.  On July 2, 2013, she and an Afghan Army photographer were documenting a mortar validation exercise when the tube suddenly exploded.

Clayton, the Afghan Army photographer, and three other Afghan Army soldiers were killed in the blast.  The photos, released after Clayton’s family gave permission, show the milliseconds after the tube exploded but before the blast reached her and her fellow photographer.

She was the first 25V killed in Afghanistan.  The combat camera community holds a “Best COMCAM” competition each year in her name.

Clayton took this photo. U.S. Army Spc. Hilda I. Clayton/US Army