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US Army Captain Kimberly N. Hampton was living her dream: flying armed helicopters in combat and commanding D Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry, the armed reconnaissance aviation squadron of the 82nd Airborne Division. An all-American girl from a small Southern mill town, Hampton was a top scholar, student body president, ROTC battalion commander, and highly ranked college tennis player. In 1998, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army. Driven by determination and ambition, Hampton rapidly rose through the ranks in the almost all-male bastion of military aviation to command a combat aviation troop.
On January 2, 2004, Captain Hampton was flying an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter above Fallujah, Iraq, in support of a raid on an illicit weapons marketplace, searching for an elusive sniper on the rooftops below. A little past noon, her helicopter was wracked by an explosion. A heat-seeking surface-to-air missile had knocked off the helicopter’s tail boom. The helicopter crashed, killing Hampton.
Kimberly’s Flight is the story of Captain Hampton’s exemplary life. This story is told through nearly fifty interviews and her own e-mails to family and friends, and is entwined with her mother’s narrative of loving and losing a child.