Login Register

Prince Harry joins brothers in arms in Afghanistan

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

Comments (0)

Prince Harry has returned to Afghanistan to fly attack helicopters in the fight against the Taliban.

The 27-year-old army captain, who spent ten weeks on the front line in 2007/08, will be in the hot seat of a fearsome Apache during his four-month deployment.

Having arrived in the war-torn country in the early hours of yesterday under the cover of darkness. Harry spent his first morning at Camp Bastion checking over the state-of-the-art Army aircraft he has likened to a “robot”.

He looked relaxed, if slightly tired, and gave a thumbs-up after a long journey on a standard troop flight from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Related content

The royal climbed up to peer into the cockpit of one of the helicopters he will fly and crouched down to inspect its weapons.

He wore his combat uniform and was joined on the Apache flightline by another unnamed member of the 100-strong unit he is posted to, 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.

After about ten days of acclimatisation and training to hone his skills, Captain Harry Wales – as he is known in the Army – will be set to go out on operations in his role as co-pilot gunner.

The Queen and Prince of Wales were both fully briefed about his return to operations and Charles is “immensely proud of his son”, St James’s Palace said.

Harry has made no secret of his desire to return to active service, and has spent the past three years changing the direction of his military career from an armoured reconnaissance troop leader to an Army helicopter pilot in order to be posted back to Afghanistan.

A St James’s Palace spokesman said: “He’s approached the deployment with a range of emotions like any other soldier and feels both pride and anticipation as he deploys for a job he’s trained for, for so long. Prince Harry, like any soldier, considers it a great honour to represent his country in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces wherever it chooses to deploy him.”

Harry can now put his naked Las Vegas romp behind him, and his antics will be seen as letting off steam ahead of a taxing deployment.

The third in line to the throne will now be knuckling down to the serious business of fighting the Taliban after reportedly getting a dressing-down by a senior officer for his well-publicised nude frolic.

Harry was a second lieutenant with his regiment, the Household Cavalry, for his first deployment to Afghanistan and worked as a forward air controller co-ordinating air strikes on Taliban positions.

That tour of duty was abruptly ended when foreign media broke a news blackout on reporting details of his service. This time the Ministry of Defence has chosen to confirm this deployment after a threat assessment concluded that acknowledging his presence in Afghanistan would not put the royal or his colleagues at further risk.

Harry’s return to frontline duty comes after 18 months of rigorous training, both in the UK and the US, after which he won a prize as the best Apache co-pilot gunner when he qualified in February.

He will fly various types of mission while stationed in Afghanistan, from escorting RAF Chinook helicopters carrying troops or equipment to targeting Taliban fighters who have attacked ground troops.

The Apache attack helicopter was designed to hunt and destroy tanks, but as the Taliban do not use armoured vehicles, it has a different role in Afghanistan.

Harry’s four-month tour coincides with Operation Herrick 17, which is the British military codename for current operations in Helmand Province.

He will be based in Camp Bastion.

Last year, Harry suggested it would be pointless to undertake costly helicopter training if he never went into combat.

Before deploying, Harry said his goodbyes to his immediate family, staying with his father at his Scottish retreat Birkhall on the Queen’s private Balmoral estate.

His brother the Duke of Cambridge wished him well when they met at Kensington Palace earlier this week.

Read more from Western Daily Press

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters
  • Viscount_V  |  September 11 2012, 5:22PM

    We are involved in two ongoing wars. I have no problem with not holding an army of Victorian size, but throwing thousands out of work during high unemployment and non-service jobs also being savagely cut = Thousands of soldiers, nurses and policemen out of work, claiming benefits and being called idle by the Tories. It's political suicide for the coalition so apart from ideology I can't figure out why they're doing it. Is it better for the benefit bill to rocket further than to keep people in jobs?? Where's plan B so Osborne can stop destroying peoples lives and livelihoods?

    |   2
  • JohnnyK  |  September 11 2012, 11:36AM

    Vix, regarding your comments about the army being cut to smallest size since Victorian times, well, large standing armies were suited to Victorian times. Warfare has changed, and while it would be great to maintain a large standing army for purely emotional reasons, it is neither practical, affordable, nor is it necessary. The problem with the left is it terrified of reform, much easier to just continue to throw money into ever bloating public services, whatever they may be, than ever consider making it more efficient or fit for time and purpose.

    |   1
  • mcupis  |  September 11 2012, 9:24AM

    Here's your grown up fact filled debate Vix. UK bank bailout - £187 billion. Most of which has been paid back. Total UK deficit - £1300 billion and growing. So where did the other £1113 billion go Vix and how exactly is this the fault of the bankers?

    |   -9
  • Viscount_V  |  September 11 2012, 7:30AM

    I forgot that the British Labour Party (specifically public sector workers) ruined the Global economy and not the greed of bankers and a banking collapse that began with Lehmans in Wall St. My mistake. It's entirely necessary that frontline policing, nursing, disabled benefits and defense are cut. I do love a grown up, fact fuelled debate.

    |   8
  • MoeXXX  |  September 11 2012, 12:52AM

    "And on queue, here comes the lefties, unable to contain their bitterness and hatred towards the British Royal Family and the British armed forces." Well, this "lefty" has worked for the armed forces all his career. For that very reason, I think it is very extremely misguided to send such a politically-valuable target out there for no better reason than "national pride", i.e. keeping the Daily Mail-reading flag-wavers on side. The additional security comes at a cost (which blows the deficit argument out the water) and his advertised presence makes his colleagues targets. Militarily, it makes no sense. Some things are more important than flag-waving. Think about it Malcolm.

    |   7
  • mcupis  |  September 10 2012, 11:25PM

    No Vix, but it was your party that ruined the economy, making it necessary.

    |   -7
  • Juneplayer  |  September 10 2012, 11:16PM

    I agree with Mush66. How daft and dangerous to be advertising the situation in this way.

    |   1
  • Viscount_V  |  September 10 2012, 10:46PM

    "And on queue, here comes the lefties, unable to contain their bitterness and hatred towards the British Royal Family and the British armed forces." Ahem!! It wasn't us that just cut the army from 102,00 to just 82,000 in another "radical re-organisation". We now have the smallest Army since Victorian times. July 2012- "Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced today, in reforms that will see 20,000 full-time troops axed. Five battalions will disappear entirely in the reorganisation - the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, 2nd Battalion the Royal Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire regiment, 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh. Three units will go from the Royal Logistics Corp, with the same number being cut from the Royal Engineers. The Army Air Corps will lose one unit and other jobs will go in units being merged." Read more: http://tinyurl.com/92zghyq

    |   3
  • a1rhellair  |  September 10 2012, 9:47PM

    .....and I hope he successfully takes out as many taliban as possible...." What while lying in a pool, with no 'uniform', having previously had 'recreational' substances paid for by public money? I guess the taliban see him as a real threat....

  • bath1946  |  September 10 2012, 8:32PM

    mcupis, I think xenophobes are the biggest threat to this country - they encourage internal terrorism. Most people favour a rapid withdrawal from an unwinnable war. It will be scientists and technologists providing the antidotes to biological and chemical warfare and intelligence fighting terrorism that will be our first line of defence. In addition to nudity, drugs and alcohol Harry also dressed in a Nazi uniform. You may consider that he is entitled to behave in any fashion he chooses, but i don't think the army and the Queen agree. He would not be setting a precedent if he waived all his privileges and became a commoner.

    |   5