May 4, 2017

"A photo taken by a US Army camerawoman of the moment she and four Afghans were killed in an explosion has been released by the American military."

"Specialist Hilda Clayton, 22, and four Afghan National Army soldiers died when a mortar shell blew up during a training exercise on 2 July 2013."

41 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Handling explosives is always very dangerous.

mockturtle said...

"Clayton's death symbolises how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts," the Army wrote in the edition.

Wow! Soldiers are exposed to hazardous situations. Who knew?

Inga said...

Horrible.

Hagar said...

Mortar crews are warned against getting overly excited and dropping a second round down on a round just firing up the tube.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Is that what happened, Hagar? Not much info in the link. Can you discern caliber?

Sad...remarkable...award-worthy?

Should she or the Afghan fotog have noted such an error and fled?

I wish they may never have known what hit them.

richlb said...

Sad. But an amazing photo nonetheless. She may win a posthumous Pulitzer.

richlb said...

And it sort of reminds me of this photo.

http://gizmodo.com/5654535/tiger-woods-shoots-golf-ball-directly-at-photographers-camera

Matthew Sablan said...

"Sad. But an amazing photo nonetheless. She may win a posthumous Pulitzer."

-- Can she as an Army photographer? What are the requirements for a Pulitzer?

Big Mike said...

A soldier died doing her job. That's sad when it happens but it does happen.

AllenS said...

Instead of paying attention to their job, four Afghan National Army soldiers died when noticing that someone was photoing them.

Fernandinande said...

Since the Afghan that the US taxpayers were training in photography for some reason got essentially the same shot from a different angle, the pics were still frames from movies.

Fernandinande said...

Fernandinande said...
the pics were still frames from movies.


Or were sound/motion activated.

Hagar said...

It is most likely what happened.
The other thing warned against in a combat situation - in training you don't get to fire that much expensive ammo - is to fire too many rounds too fast so that the tube overheats and sets off the propellant while the round is dropping down the tube.

Comanche Voter said...

Sounds like Hagar knows whereof he speaks. Do I detect someone with the MOS 11 Charlie in his background?

madAsHell said...

Training as a selective exercise.
I'm not sure why anyone would aspire to receive this award.

Hagar said...

FDC 4.2 Mortar Co.

UcaVik said...

Playing with fire is always dangerous and here in Afghanistan and middle east people, for their vested self interest, are burning and brutally killing each other. Stop this please!
http://dentoninjurylawyers.com/

mockturtle said...

Can anyone here 'splain to me what the hell we are doing in Afghanistan, other than training Afghan soldiers to take over when we leave? [hah!]

Michael K said...

I have been trying to find the photo that appeared of the two Marines that stopped the VBIED by standing their ground and shooting the driver. They died in the blast but the photo showed the two of them still firing at the truck as it exploded.

That was heroism. This was an accident.

rp said...

http://www.businessinsider.com/john-kellys-speech-about-marines-in-ramadi-2013-6

"the photo that appeared of the two Marines that stopped the VBIED by standing their ground and shooting the driver. They died in the blast but the photo showed the two of them still firing at the truck as it exploded."

Jason said...

1. The Army shouldn't make this about a woman, but about a Soldier.
2. Did the distracting presence of a woman in that particular context contribute to the accident? Could it plausibly be contributory to the next accident?

SeanF said...

I don't know, Fernandinande. The two pictures are not quite simultaneous.

TosaGuy said...

I was on an 81MM mortar crew in the early 1990s as a private. I've forgotten way more than I ever learned regarding that piece of equipment and will defer all authority to Hagar.

But I do remember, that before we did a live fire exercise our mortar tubes had to get some sort of x-ray examination (or some similar procedure) that looked for microcracks. My gut instinct is that doesn't happen in Afghanistan.

MadisonMan said...

Military photographers must pass a five-day test of their physical and technical skills to qualify for the Spc Hilda Clayton Best Combat Camera award.

There's something about a Combat Camera award named for someone who died while taking a picture. I'm not sure what that something is though.

Hagar said...

A screw-up is not an "accident."

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Mockturle's question is a good one.
It started with Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda, but they have been long gone for a long time now. I think W's administration separated bin Laden from his money and chased him into hiding so that bin Laden really was mostly harmless not that long after 9/11/01. Certainly the Pakistani ISI did not hold him in very high regard when he was finally found.

It could be the U.S. should get out of there and just let the surrounding junkyard dogs fight it out over that bone.

Michael K said...

Thanks rp.

The Drill SGT said...

"Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, a “visual information specialist” and a member of the 55th Signal Company, or Combat Camera, was photographing an Afghan National Army "mortar validation exercise" in the eastern Laghman Province on July 2, 2013, when a mortar tube accidentally exploded. "

more precisely,

"a mortar round prematurely exploded "IN" the tube"

why?

Overheating?
faulty fuze?
Double round?

since we can't see a large tube, eg a 120MM, it was likely an 81mm tube

Hey Skipper said...

What Micheal K said.

That turned me into a sobbing wreck. Thankfully, I'm not in public. Not that it would have made any difference.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bay Area Guy said...

"Clayton's death symbolises how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts," the Army wrote in the edition.

And this is a good thing? Female army photographers can get pointlessly blown up just like their male counterparts -- how quaint.

The Drill SGT said...

Michael K's Marines

"Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you."

Like that "not-Orwell" quote:

"Gentle folks sleep peacefully in their beds, because rough men stand read to do violence on their behalf"

Or Heinlein:

"The most noble fate a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war's desolation."
- Lt. Col. Jean V. Dubois (Ret.)

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yancey Ward said...

These kinds of photographs are always tough to look at- the last second/s of someone's life. There are a number of such photographs I have seen over the years that capture such events, the most readily that come to mind, of course, are of those poor souls who leapt to their deaths from the World Trade Center.

sodal ye said...


Blogger rp said...
http://www.businessinsider.com/john-kellys-speech-about-marines-in-ramadi-2013-6

Thanks.

Jason said...

Tosa Guy is correct: US regulations call for mortar tubes and other gun tubes to get sent back for recertification after every X number of rounds fired, and we keep track of how many rounds each tube fires for this purpose.

These could be inherited Warsaw Pact tubes, god knows how many years old, with who knows what kind of maintenance and inspection performed over many years.

David said...

What was the training, weapons training or photography training? Sounds like it was photo training when actually the need was for weapons/munitions training.

Either way, they put this woman in a unnecessarily dangerous position to get a dramatic shot. Needlessly. It's amazing to me that they are presenting this as a good reflection on the military.

The woman had no choice, unlucky thing. RIP.

Pillage Idiot said...

I have noticed an increasing trend in articles of all sorts, that there is never any "agency" to the most important event in the article.

I clicked over to see the picture, but as soon as I started reading, I wanted to know what was the cause of the death of the article's protagonist.

On articles where more facts (that were available at the time of creation of the original article) come out later, there is always some BS narrative that was being protected.

When someone continuously tries to influence me by lies of omission, I eventually conclude they are not journalists, but rather propagandists.

I am getting tired of propagandists!

[To be clear, I am not referring to Althouse. I am a poor photographer, and enjoy Althouse's "photo" posts. I assume she linked this article as a photo post.]

Matthew Blaine said...

Observer effect.