U.S. Army Spc. Hilda Clayton died doing what she loved most in life — seizing history by taking images.
The combat photographer captured the accidental detonation of a mortar tube, which ended up taking her life and killed and four Afghan soldiers.
Her last photo shows flames and debris blowing around a soldier in camouflage gear.
Her final work has been kept private for nearly four years but has now been published, alongside an image made by an Afghan photojournalist, in a new Army journal.
Her family gave permission for the photo to be used.
“I don’t think any photo that I’ve seen can compare to that photo,” Spc. Shenee Brooks told CBS News. “She has the last shot of how she died in that photo.”
On that fateful day in 2013, Clayton was assigned to document the training of Afghan soldiers by U.S. military advisers. She was part of a Pentagon drive to compile a visual record of military operations.
Those images are to give commanders outside the theater of war a boots-on-the-ground view of life on the frontlines.