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.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Follow the latest updates from the Monday night Premier League fixture
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Sophia Loren: How I rejected Cary Grant and 'pulverised' Marlon Brando with my eyes
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...