Prince Harry returns to Afghanistan on mission as Apache helicopter pilot

Four years after his last tour of duty, Captain Harry Wales returns to the front line

Prince Harry has returned to Afghanistan four years after he was forced to leave the country while serving as a soldier in Helmand.

The media had until today voluntarily maintained silence on the deployment for "security reasons", following requests from Buckingham Palace and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

However, while the entirety of the Prince’s last tour was the subject of a supposed blanket embargo, there will this time be coverage of his four-month mission as an Apache helicopter pilot.

The arrangement between the British media and the MoD fell apart in 2008, 10 weeks into his tour, when an Australian website revealed his presence in Afghanistan, prompting a hurried evacuation.

Since then the third-in-line to the throne has privately stated on a number of occasions his desire to return to continue his duties.

Defence chiefs had considered the option of restricting the Prince’s possible deployment, posting him away from the front line. However he has since qualified as an Apache pilot, winning an award for the best co-pilot gunner on the 18-month course, and saying it would be pointless to put him through costly training if he was to be barred from going into combat.

Captain Harry Wales, as he is officially known in the Army, said in an interview: “You become a very expensive asset, the training’s very expensive and they wouldn’t have me doing what I’m doing. I’d just be taking up a spare place for somebody else if they didn’t have me going out on the job.”

The reason for media silence given by the MoD at the time of his first deployment in December 2007 was that disclosing his whereabouts would make him and those serving alongside him particular targets for insurgents.

The same pressures should not apply as an Apache pilot; none of the Apache helicopters have, so far, been shot down.

Harry will be based out of Camp Bastion where he will work as part of the Joint Aviation Group which provides helicopter support to the International Security and Assistance Force in the south-west of the country. He has been trained to fly in the front seat as the mission commander, a role that mostly involves operating the aircraft’s sights, sensors and weapons systems.

Prince Harry was in the headlines recently after photographs of him cavorting naked with young women during a trip to the US appeared on the web.

Although there was condemnation of his behaviour by some public figures, 33,000 people, including servicemen in Afghanistan, joined an online group “Support Prince Harry With A Naked Salute”, some doing precisely that and posting the images online.

Prince Harry would have received pre-deployment cultural awareness training where it is stressed upon departing personnel that they will be operating in the deeply traditional and conservative Pashtun region.

Training: Lessons in local culture

Cultural awareness training for personnel deployed to Afghanistan was introduced to avoid “misunderstandings” which had taken place in the early days of the British presence in Helmand, leading to friction with civilians and, at times, Afghan forces.

It is normally a quick trot through areas of religious and cultural sensitivities such as what procedure to follow while searching women’s quarters in Afghan homes; offences which may be caused by the presence of pork and alcohol; and the avoidance of statements which may be construed as racial slurs. Servicemen and women are also instructed to dress modestly and use moderate language.

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style