Kimberly Hampton

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Kimberly Nicole Hampton
Kimberly Hampton.jpg
Hampton in March 2001
Born (1976-08-18)August 18, 1976
Greenville, South Carolina
Died January 2, 2004(2004-01-02) (aged 27)
Fallujah, Iraq
Place of burial Easley, South Carolina
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1996–2004
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Commands held D Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal
Purple Heart

Kimberly Nicole Hampton (August 18, 1976 – January 2, 2004) was a Captain in the United States Army and the first female military pilot in United States history to be shot down and killed as a result of hostile fire. She was also the first woman from South Carolina to die in the Iraq War.


Early life[edit]

Hampton was born on August 18, 1976, in Greenville, South Carolina, the only child of Dale and Ann Hampton. She was childhood friends with former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie. Growing up in Easley, South Carolina, she graduated from Easley High School, where she had served as the student body president, CO of the NJROTC unit, and captain of the tennis team.[1] Hampton began her college career playing tennis for Furman University. She went on to be an honors graduate and champion tennis player at Presbyterian College. Hampton led the school team, the Blue Hose, to three consecutive South Atlantic Conference women’s tennis tournament titles. She was undefeated in three years of conference singles play.[2] She won the SAC awards for Women’s Tennis Player of the Year in 1997 and 1998, and Female Athlete of the Year in 1998.[3]

Military career[edit]

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 Aviation Officer Basic Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where she completed the training with honors. She served two years in South Korea, and also in Afghanistan as part of the United States 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.[3][4]

Death and burial[edit]

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 the first female military pilot in United States history to be shot down and killed as a result of hostile fire.[5][6][7] She was also the first female combat casualty in Iraq from South Carolina.[3][4] Captain 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, South Carolina.


Hampton was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Purple Heart.[4] On June 10, 2004, she was inducted into the South Atlantic Conference hall of fame.[3] The South Carolina branch of the United States Tennis Association renamed its Tiger Hustle Award after Hampton. Presented to the most improved girl in the 12-and-under age division of the Wachovia Palmetto Championships, the renamed award was first presented in June 2004. The Easley High School NJROTC unit also named an award after her. In 2005, the Pickens County Public Library and the section of South Carolina Highway 88 that passes through Easley, South Carolina were also named in her honor.[8][9] Since 2006, Presbyterian College has annually presented a scholarship to an ROTC student in Hampton's name.[10]


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. [11] It was first published in May 2012.[11]


  1. ^ "Female helicopter pilot was 'living my dreams'", by Sharon Cohen, The Associated Press, published by USA Today, 2004-09-09. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  2. ^ Bob Faw (January 12, 2004). "Chopper pilot recalled as a super-achiever". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Seven Inducted into South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame." Archived 2008-09-07 at the Wayback Machine. South Atlantic Conference. press release. June 11, 2004. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "Parents, fiancé lay to rest first woman from South Carolina to die in Iraq" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine., Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  5. ^ EDITORIAL: September 11 brought a 'new normal': Status quo has been upended. The Beaufort Gazette, S.C. wire feed distributed by Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Washington: Sep 10, 2006. pg. 1
  6. ^ *Jim Duplessis (September 12, 2006). "Couple felt 'connection' in visit to ground zero". The State. Retrieved 2006-12-20. [permanent dead link]. Wire feed distributed by Knight Ridder Tribune Business News.
  7. ^ "Capt. Kimberly Hampton". Write from the Front. Retrieved 2006-12-20. 
  8. ^ "Pickens County Library System" (PDF).  (773 KiB) Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  9. ^ "Dedication for "Kimberly Hampton Memorial Highway"". South Carolina Department of Transportation. 2005-04-01. Retrieved 2006-12-20. 
  10. ^ Presbyterian ROTC commissioning, 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-28. Archived at September 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ a b "Kimberly's Flight: The Story of Captain Kimberly Hampton, America's First Woman Combat Pilot Killed in Battle (9781612001029): Anna Simon, Ann Hampton, William B. Caldwell: Books". Retrieved 2017-07-01. 

External links[edit]