*The U. S. Army recently released a photo that had been taken by photographer, Spc. Hilda Clayton, seconds before she and four others were killed by an explosion.
According to reports, Clayton had been taking pictures of three Afghan soldiers that were conducting mortar validation exercises when the weapon went off causing the explosion. The three soldiers, Afghanistan National Army First Cavalry Division members, and an Afghan combat photographer perished alongside Clayton just after the final picture was taken.
Clayton’s picture, the 1st shown directly below, shows us the fatal moment of the explosion as we see one of the three soldiers previously mentioned.
The 2nd photo, shown directly below, was taken by the Afghan photographer, although it is Clayton’s hand holding the camera in the bottom left corner.
Clayton was only 21 years old.
According to the Military Review Journal, Clayton’s death has been honoured by US Army 55th Signal Company, to which she belonged; they have renamed their annual combat photography competition after her.
Her sacrifice has previously been recognized at memorial ceremonies in Afghanistan and the US.
“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 read.
Our hearts are with the family of Spc. Clayton. Rest in peace.