The U.S. Department of Defense announced Wednesday that Army Spc. Hilda I. Clayton died in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, after the incident occurred in Qaraghahi, Afghanistan. The incident is under investigation and no details were released.
Clayton, stationed at Fort George G. Meade, Md., was a combat documentation specialist and assigned to the 55th Signal Co., a combat camera unit, 21st Signal Brigade, said Fort Meade spokesman Chad Jones.
Clayton had been with that unit since July 2012 after graduating from the Defense Information School, also at Fort Meade. As part of her job, Clayton documented combat situations on the battlefield for the Department of Defense, Jones said.
Jones said the Fort Meade community was “completely taken aback by this,” as the announcement came just a day before U.S. residents celebrate the country’s independence and military personnel.
“Freedom is not free,” he said. “This is a solemn reminder of that.”
This is the second death in recent weeks of a young soldier with local ties.
On June 18, Spc. Ember M. Alt, 21, of Beech Island, was among four soldiers killed in Bagram, Afghanistan, after enemy forces attacked her unit at the air base there. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
Alt was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division of Fort Carson, Colo. She was a wheeled-vehicle mechanic and had joined the Army in May 2011.