US Army Photographer Captured the Explosion that Killed Her

A 22-year-old photographer was near the mortar that accidentally exploded. She and four other people died.

Military Review, US Army official newspaper, posted a photograph of the explosion taken by 22-year-old combat photographer Hilda Clayton a moment before her death: both her family and the command of her unit allowed it to be published, PetaPixel writes.

The incident happened almost four years ago, in early July 2013. Clayton was taking part in military training in Afghanistan, where she was teaching local combat photographers. Working with one of them, she was capturing a mortar, which accidentally exploded, placing her in the epicenter of the blast. Clayton, her colleague, and three other servicemen died due to the accident.

Clayton served in the Combat Camera unit, which sends combat photographers to war zones. To honor her memory, the combat photography contest held by the US Army was named after her.

A photograph that Hilda Clayton took before her death.
A photograph taken by the Afghan photojournalist who worked near Clayton

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