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Fatal Combat Photos Released Showing Explosion During Training

Image: Fatal Combat Photos Released Showing Explosion During Training

A mortar tube accidentally explodes during an Afghan National Army live-fire training exercise in Laghman province, Afghanistan, July 2, 2013. This photo was taken by U.S. Army Spc. Hilda Clayton, who died in the blast. (Hilda Clayton/U.S. ARMY)

By    |   Wednesday, 03 May 2017 01:12 PM

The 2013 fatal combat photos taken by U.S. Army Spc. Hilda Clayton and an Afghan combat photographer when a mortar tube accidentally exploded in Afghanistan have been released for the first time.

Clayton, 22, was killed along with four Afghan soldiers when the mortar exploded during a live-fire training exercise in Qaraghahi in eastern Afghanistan on July 2, 2013, according to the Army Times. Clayton was a visual information specialist attached to the 4th Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, which was assigned to the Forward Operating Base Gamberi at the time.

"Unreleased until now, they offer a haunting view of a soldier's final moments, capturing the dizzying burst of fire, smoke and debris that claimed the lives of five people," Derek Hawkins wrote for The Washington Post.

Clayton was training an Afghan Army photographer at the time while taking pictures for the Army training mission that certified Afghan soldiers on mortar operations when the accident happened, reported the Army Times.

"Combat Camera soldiers are trained to take still and video imagery in any environment," said an article accompanying the photos in the May-June edition of the Army's Military Review journal. "Their primary mission is to accompany combat soldiers wherever deployed to document the history of combat operations.

"Clayton's death symbolizes how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts. Clayton's service and sacrifice were recognized during memorial ceremonies at Forward Operating Base Gamberi on (July 8) 2013 and at the Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Maryland, on (Dec. 13), 2013," the article continued.

At Fort Meade, Clayton's name was added to the Defense Information School's Hall of Heroes, and it named its award for the winner of its annual best combat camera competition after her, noted the Military Review journal.

Clayton graduated from the Defense Information School in Fort Meade in 2012, reported Stars and Stripes.

Stars and Stripes reported that Clayton's family and unit approved of photos' release from the Army's University Press. The publication stated that Clayton was the first Army combat documentation and production specialist to be killed in Afghanistan.

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The 2013 fatal combat photos taken by U.S. Army Spc. Hilda Clayton when a mortar tube accidentally exploded in Afghanistan have been released for the first time.
fatal, combat, photos, released
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2017-12-03
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 01:12 PM
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