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Kimberly’s Flight

April 2014

This month, the Theatre Department at Presbyterian College is presenting Kimberly’s Flight, a play created by students in PC’s newly formed Centre for Devised Theatre. In this innovative and exciting program, students create original plays that challenge the audience to think about important issues in the world. This year’s production focuses on one of our own, Captain Kimberly Hampton, PC class of 1998.

Kimberly Hampton on the tennis courts at Presbyterian College
Kimberly Hampton on the tennis courts at Presbyterian College


Kimberly Nicole Hampton arrived at Presbyterian College in the fall of 1995. This talented young lady had been recruited during her high school tennis days by PC women’s tennis coach Donna Arnold. Initially, Kimberly took a path which led her to play Division I tennis at Furman University her freshman year. Kimberly transferred to Presbyterian College for her sophomore year, preferring the Division II climate, and three years later she had won every South Atlantic Conference singles match that she played during her three years at Presbyterian. She led the team to three SAC championships and was named SAC Player of the Year in 1997 and 1998, as well as SAC Female Athlete of the Year for 1998.

Not only was Kimberly an outstanding tennis player, but she also excelled in the classroom. Kimberly graduated cum laude with a major in English in 1998. Balancing academic study with athletic practice and competition is a challenging prospect for many college athletes and success at both requires self-discipline and tenacity. In addition, Kim came to PC on an ROTC scholarship and served as the Scottish Highlander Battalion commander during her senior year, knowing that joining the armed forces was her life’s goal and that she wanted to fly.

Kimberly Hampton in training
Kimberly Hampton in training


Upon her graduation in May 1998, Kimberly was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the Army. She served as the Gold Bar Recruiter in the Presbyterian College ROTC Department until October of that year, before reporting to Fort Rucker’s US Army Helicopter Flight School in Alabama. Kimberly was an honor graduate of the flight training program and was stationed in Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq over the next several years.

Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, wrote of Kimberly:
“While most aspiring helicopter pilots in the Army, men and women, choose to serve as Blackhawk or Chinook pilots who ferry troops about the battlefield, Kimberly chose the far more dangerous path of becoming an OH-58 “Kiowa” pilot.  This specialty meant that her mission was to actively seek out and engage the enemy, and it has only been open to women since the 1990s.  She subsequently became one of the first female combat aviation commanders in the history of the 82nd Airborne. It was this decision which inevitably put her at the front lines outside Fallujah, Iraq, on a fateful winter day.”

On January 2, 2004, Captain Kimberly Nicole Hampton gave her life for her country on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq. Serving as the commander of Delta Troop, 1st Squadron-17th Cavalry, 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq, Kimberly was supporting American troops conducting ground force maneuvers by air when her Kiowa Warrior OH-58D helicopter was shot down.

Kimberly knew of the dangers faced by Kiowa pilots whose mission was to actively seek out and engage the enemy, but that is exactly where she wanted to be. In an e-mail to her parents she wrote,

If there is anything I can say to ease your mind…if anything ever happens to me, you can be certain that I am doing the things I love. I’m living my dreams for sure, living life on the edge at times and pushing the envelope. But, I’m doing things others only dream about from the safety and comfort of home. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything, I truly love it! So, worry if you must, but you can be sure that your only child is living a full, exciting life and is HAPPY!”

Kimberly Hampton

 In 2004 Kimberly’s parents, Dale and Ann Hampton, placed a flagpole flying the American flag in her memory at the Presbyterian College Armed Forces Memorial.  Read more about memorials on campus here.