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An Army Photographer Took One Final Picture Of The Blast That Killed Her

Spc. Hilda Clayton was killed while documenting a live-fire training exercise in Afghanistan in 2013.

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The US Army has released the shocking final picture taken by a combat photographer of the blast in which she lost her life almost four years go.

Spc. Hilda Clayton, 22, was killed while documenting a live-fire training exercise in Afghanistan on July 2, 2013.

Four members of the Afghan National Army, including a local photographer who Clayton was training, also lost their lives when a mortar tube accidentally exploded in the eastern Laghman province.

"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," read a tribute to the late Army specialist in the latest issue of the Military Review journal, in which the photo was published.

The final pictured taken by the Afghan National Army photographer was also released.

Clayton was the first US combat photographer specialist to be killed in Afghanistan, according to the US Army.

The 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) to which Clayton was assigned was first established during World War II. Its mission is to capture still and video imagery of military operations, and to "[focus] on purely documenting events as they happen, providing on the ground commanders with priceless imagery and situational awareness of the battlefield."

Upon her death, Clayton was honored with memorial ceremonies in Afghanistan and Fort Meade, Maryland.

"Clayton’s death symbolizes how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts," read the Military Review tribute.

After her death, Combat Camera established a photography competition named for Clayton.

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

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