Prince Harry Back In Afghanistan

After his recent troubles in Las Vegas, Prince Harry probably welcomes a return to combat duty in Afghanistan for the first time in four years:

CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan (AP) — Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, began a four-month combat tour Friday in Afghanistan as a gunner on an Apache attack helicopter, fresh from a vacation that included strip billiards in a Las Vegas hotel.

It was the second tour in Afghanistan for Harry, 27, who will start flying missions within 10 days in the country’s restive Helmand province, the British military said. In 2007-08, he served in Helmand as an air traffic controller.

Looking relaxed if slightly tired, Harry gave a thumbs-up Friday after a long journey on a troop carrier flight from England to Britain’s Camp Bastion, a sprawling desert base near the southern Afghan town of Lashkar Gah.

Capt. Harry Wales, as he is known in the military, wore his combat uniform and joined his 100-strong unit — the 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.

As part of the Apache’s two-man crew, Harry will be both a co-pilot and the gunner responsible for firing the Apache’s wing-mounted aerial rockets, Hellfire laser-guided missiles and 30mm machine gun.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, mainly based in Helmand province, and has suffered 425 deaths since the start of operations there in 2001.

“Prince Harry, like any soldier, considers it a great honor to represent his country in her majesty’s armed forces wherever it chooses to deploy him,” St James’s Palace said in a statement.

Also, no doubt, the chance to get away from the London tabloids. It’s odd, however, that the British military would make this public considering how the Prince’s last tour of duty turned out. Back then, you may recall, it was not revealed that there was a member of the Royal Family stationed in country thanks in large part to an agreement that the military had reached with the British press to keep the news secret to protect both his safety and that of his fellow soldiers. When the news was broken by, among others, Matt Drudge, Harry was brought back home almost immediately. It’s not being stated why the military chose to publicize the deployment this time.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Perhaps things changed on the ground in terms of safety. Regardless, if we had more people from the elites serving then that would be a positive for this country.

  2. mike says:

    @Scott: how so?

  3. Anderson says:

    Why is he known as “Harry Wales”? His last name is Windsor, isn’t it?

  4. mike says:

    @Anderson: actually after the escapades in vegas he has a few new names.

  5. Mike says:

    The reason for disclosing it this time vs not disclosing it last time could be a change in mission…last time he wasn’t an “air traffic controller,” he was a forward air controller/tactical air control party dude running around on the ground outside the wire, calling in airstrikes while getting shot at. Not saying that being an Apache pilot isn’t dangerous or that they don’t get shot at, but there is a different environment there compared to going on patrols outside the wire.

  6. matt says:

    @Scott: I was thinking the same thing

  7. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Hopefully it’s just me, but doesn’t the Prince look a lot more like Princess Diana’s riding instructor than he does the other members of his family ???

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mike:

    @Scott: how so?

    There was a time when our “elites” shared the same dangers as the plebes (WW II). Now? HAH! Would it be better for the country if a few of the “elites” had bullets whizzing past their heads? Maybe not. But it couldn’t hurt.

  9. Scott says:

    @mike: To use a frequently used phrase: They would have skin in the game.

  10. She says:

    @Anderson: Harry’s name and title is Prince Henry of Wales. Harry is short for Henry and the Wales is because his father is the Prince of Wales. The monarch’s family surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.

  11. jukeboxgrad says: