The Ministry of Defence has announced that Prince Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot, has been sent to Afghanistan to begin a four-month combat tour for the British military
The Ministry of Defence has announced that Prince Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot, has been sent to Afghanistan to begin a four-month combat tour for the British military.
The 27-year-old Royal, who will celebrate his 28th birthday next week at Camp Bastion in Helmand, where he is based, has had a busy couple of weeks in the media spotlight after nude pictures of him partying in Las Vegas were published and a beautician told the press she had a drunken ‘fumble’ with the Prince in a VIP suite at the Wynn Hotel.
According to reports, Prince Harry – known as ‘Captain Wales‘ in military circles – will begin work as an Apache co-pilot and gunner within the next week (he qualified as an Apache helicopter pilot in February 2012 after 18 months of vigorous training in the UK and US). Harry arrived in Afghanistan as part of the 100-strong 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps.
Prince Harry spent 10 weeks in Helmand province working as a forward air controller back in 2007-2008 but was shipped back to the UK after the media reported his secret deployment.
According to Royal Navy Captain Jock Gordon, Commander of the Joint Aviation Group:
‘Captain Wales, with his previous experience as a Forward Air Controller on operations, will be a useful asset.
‘He will be in a difficult and demanding job. And I ask that he be left to get on with his duties and allowed to focus on delivering support to the coalition troops on the ground.’
Prince Harry was photographed in Afghanistan Friday, giving cameras the thumbs-up sign and examining the cockpit and 30mm cannon of an Apache helicopter. According to the Ministry of Defence, the threat to Apache aircraft and personnel in Afghanistan is ‘low.’
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As for any rumours that the Prince was shipped off as a result of his naughty behaviour in Vegas, a rep for the Royal Family said: ‘It goes without saying that one doesn’t deploy as an Apache pilot to Afghanistan at short notice.’
‘Prince Harry’s time in Las Vegas was his last break before the frontline.’
Prince Harry was seen attending to Royal duties earlier this week when he attended the Paralympics, meeting athletes and cheering on Team GB Goalball players and swimmers.