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Best of 2017 @Legacy


KIOWA WARRIOR TO MEMORIALIZE U.S. ARMY CAPTAIN KIMBERLY HAMPTON


By Pam Landis


Kimberly Nicole Hampton (August 18, 1976 – January 2, 2004) was a captain in the United States Army and the first female military pilot in U.S. history to be shot down and killed as a result of hostile fire.


Growing up in Easley, South Carolina, she graduated from Easley High School, where she had served as the student body president and CO of the NJROTC unit.


Hampton joined the United States Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) while in college. As a senior, she became only the second woman to serve as the school’s ROTC battalion commander. Upon graduation, she attended flight training and the Aviation Officer Basic Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where she completed her training with honors. She served two years in South Korea and also in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. Hampton was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before becoming the commander of Delta Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment prior to the unit’s deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in September 2003.


Hampton died when the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter she was flying was shot down near Fallujah, Iraq, on January 2, 2004. Captain Hampton was also the first female combat casualty in Iraq from South Carolina. Hampton’s resting place is located in the cemetery section just east of the bell tower at Robinson Memorial Gardens on Powdersville Road near her hometown of Easley. She was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal and Purple Heart.


The Easley High School NJROTC unit named an award after her. In 2005, the Pickens County public library and the section of South Carolina Highway 88 that passes through Easley were also named in her honor. Since 2006, Presbyterian College has annually presented a scholarship to an ROTC student in Hampton’s name.


Kimberly Hampton’s mother, Ann Hampton, and journalist Anna Simon wrote a book about Kimberly titled KIMBERLY’S FLIGHT: The Story of Captain Kimberly Hampton, America’s First Woman Combat Pilot Killed in Battle.


56 Nov/Dec 2017


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