Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Prince Harry confirms he killed Taliban insurgents during his latest tour of Afghanistan

'Everyone's fired a certain amount': Captain Wales, as he is known in Helmand, says he has had to kill from the cockpit of his Apache helicopter in Afghanistan

'It's a pretty complex job for everyone involved': Prince Harry says he mostly worked on escorting Chinooks on daring evacuation raids

Captain Wales as he is known in the British Army, races out from the VHR (very high readiness) tent to scramble his Apache with fellow Pilots, during his 12 hour shift at the British controlled flight-line in Camp Bastion southern Afghanistan

Go Ugly Early: Prince Harry says he has always dreamed of having the 'Ugly' call sign of the Apache helicopters he flew on his second tour of Afghanistan. He had a vast firepower at his disposal when he was flying, as illustrated by this t-shirt worn by an Apache ground crew member
He is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors. But according to Harry, being a prince means he has a constant struggle to find love.

In fact, the 28-year-old bemoans the fact that potential princesses are put off by his position, rather than attracted by it.

‘You ain’t ever going to find someone who’s going to jump into the position that it would hold. Simple as that,’ he says.

Asked whether he was currently single, he responds: ‘I’m just out here doing my job. That’s all I can say at the moment.’ 

But he admits brother William, who married long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton in 2011, has suffered the same personal doubts. He says: ‘I don’t think you can ever be urged to settle down. If you find the right person and everything feels right, then it takes time. . . especially for myself and my brother.’ 

He is clearly delighted, however, at the thought of becoming an uncle, saying he ‘can’t wait’. 

William and Kate, he says, broke the news of her pregnancy to him in Afghanistan over the phone. ‘Obviously I’m thrilled for both of them – it’s about time! – and I can’t wait to be an uncle,’ he said. 

‘I am very, very happy for them, but I only hope that she and him – but mainly Catherine – hopefully, that she gets the necessary protection to allow her as a mother-to-be to enjoy the privacy that comes with it.’

For seven years, Harry was in an on-off relationship with Zimbabwean-born trainee lawyer, Chelsy Davy. Although the tempestuous couple, who split shortly after William and Kate’s wedding, adored each other, Chelsy hated the ‘straitjacket’ of royal life.

Afterwards Harry briefly romanced underwear model Florence Brudenell-Bruce, but split with her to concentrate on the final phase of his Army Air Corps training. 

Shortly before being deployed, he began a romance with Cressida Bonas, 23, the daughter of Sixties It-girl Lady Mary-Gaye Curzon.

Asked if he had killed from the cockpit of his £40million aircraft, the 28-year-old prince said matter-of-factly: ‘Yeah, so lots of people have. The squadron’s been out here. Everyone’s fired a certain amount.’

Harry discusses his military career, becoming an uncle – and the notorious photos of him gallivanting naked in Las Vegas shortly before his deployment.

Tonight, as he began a few days of relaxation at a British base in Cyprus before returning to Britain, he admitted that while Prince Charles is ‘always trying to remind me about who I am’, he prefers to live by his own motto: ‘Work hard, play hard.’ 
In the interview, Harry also:
Reveals his brother William is jealous at not being allowed to fly helicopters in Afghanistan;
Says he ‘can’t wait’ to become an uncle to William and Kate’s baby;
Bemoans the fact that despite being one of the world’s most eligible bachelors he ‘ain’t ever going to find’ someone who wants to ‘jump in’ and become his wife;
Suggests his skill at PlayStation computer games may have made him a better pilot.

His admission that he killed insurgents is likely to be seized on by the Taliban for propaganda purposes. But the prince is unapologetic, saying: ‘Take a life to save a life, that’s what we revolve around. If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game.

‘I’m not here on a free pass...our job out here is to make sure the guys are safe on the ground and if that means shooting someone who is shooting them, then we will do it.’

A senior Army source said: ‘Harry is flying an attack helicopter and that’s one of the jobs the guys do: Attack. It would be unthinkable for a gunner to go on a deployment and not have several engagements with the enemy. Of course he has killed.’ 

Harry was deployed with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, to Camp Bastion in Southern Helmand in September.

His first tour of duty as a forward air commander on the ground was cut short in 2008 when news of his deployment leaked in the US. Ministry of Defence officials deemed his continued presence there a risk to his fellow soldiers. 
Desperate to return to the front line, he retrained as a helicopter pilot and was picked to fly the 200mph Apache, the pride of the military’s airborne fleet, with his finger on the trigger of an arsenal of weapons including rockets, missiles and a 30mm cannon.

British media were given unprecedented access during his time in Afghanistan in return for not speculating about his deployment in advance or publishing information that could exacerbate potential danger.

It is when talking about his work as an Apache pilot that he is clearly at his most comfortable.

Harry – Captain Wales in the Army – was sent on all manner of missions over Helmand, from supporting Allied troops fighting the Taliban at close quarters to accompanying British Chinook and US Black Hawk helicopters on casualty evacuation missions. 

He has been hailed by his colleagues and superiors for being ‘on top of his game’ during the tour.

Harry was given no special treatment and worked, ate and slept in the same basic conditions as the other pilots. It is, in his own words, ‘as normal as it’s going to get. I’m one of the guys, I don’t get treated any differently’.

He admits that his work is interspersed with periods of intense boredom while waiting for a call-out and he whiled away his time watching DVDs and playing computer games.

He even allowed himself to be photographed wearing a silly Santa hat, complete with blond plaits, to make his colleagues breakfast at Christmas and turn on their festive lights.

His father, he revealed, had sent him a food parcel containing a jar of Clarence House garden honey and a box of huge Cuban cigars.

Prince Harry appears to be sharing a joke with photographers as he gets into his Apache helicopter during early morning pre-flight checks

Prince Harry chats to reporters and a TV crew following the checks on his aircraft

During his deployment his colleagues and superiors hailed him for fitting into his unit well and being 'on top of his game' during the 'extremely busy' and dangerous tour

This previously unseen photograph shows Capt Wales flying off, left, in his Apache as protection for a Chinook helicopter, shown right, during a raid in the desert

Prince Harry does a pre-flight check of his Apache Helicopter after starting his 12 hour VHR (very high readiness) shift at Camp Bastion

Captain Wales watches the return from a mission of an Apache helicopter at the British-copntrolled flight-line in Camp Bastion

Prince Harry has spoken for the first time about how he killed enemy fighters from his Apache helicopter during his latest tour of Afghanistan
Prince William has privately expressed his frustration at not being able to serve on the frontline.

The future king, 30, is barred from serving in a warzone because it is considered ‘too dangerous’ given his future role and, says Harry, is hugely jealous of his own second tour in Afghanistan.

Harry is equally dismissive of the convention and says he cannot see why his brother shouldn’t get the chance to serve his country.

‘Yes, you get shot at. But if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well,’ he said.

‘People back home will have issues with that, but we're not special. The guys out there are; simple as that.’

Captain Wales as he is known in the British Army, inspects his Apache Helicopter before lift off on a night mission from Camp Bastion southern Afghanistan

Prince Harry admitted he had 'killed from the cockpit' before adding that 'many had'

In a revealing series of interviews given to the Press at the end of Prince Harry's second tour of Afghanistan, he also said that his older brother was 'jealous' of his job flying helicopters in the desert

In his job as a co-pilot gunner (CPG), he flew on missions both planned and unplanned, often for hours on end over the barren desert, supporting the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), the Afghan National Army (ANA), and Afghan National Police

The Apache Helicopter co-piloted by Prince Harry or just plain Captain Wales as he is known in the British Army, before lift off on a night mission from Camp Bastion

Downtime: Prince Harry claims he beats most of his co-fighters at Fifa on the PlayStation. Here he is seen celebrating a goal in a match against Pilot Captain Simon Beattie (left)

Captain Wales relaxes with Simon Beattie under a shelter protecting them from the intense Afghan sun

As well as going on dangerous missions Prince Harry has to put up with the more mundane parts of life. Here he chats to a TV crew while making his breakfast

Prince Harry in the cockpit of his Apache helicopter

For 28-year-old Prince Harry, flying Apache helicopters over war-ravaged Afghanistan has been a dream come true.

The 'Go Ugly Early' call sign is much coveted in the armed forces, and the Prince and his co-pilots proudly wore its badges on their kit.

Prince Harry said: 'I don't know the story behind it, but I've always wanted to be an Ugly. Ever since I was a JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) back in 2009, speaking to the Uglies was always the number one.'

He added: 'Things have changed now. We've got no Harriers any more, the Tornados are working elsewhere, so this is the choice platform as far as we're concerned for the guys on the ground.

'I don't know where the Ugly came from but it is a pretty ugly beast, and I think it's very cool.'

The royal has his Ugly Badge fixed to his flying helmet, alongside one with 'Harry Wales' stitched in yellow onto a black Stars and Stripes flag, and another of the classic Blue/Red/Blue flash of the Household Division.

From his seat in the front of the two-man cockpit, he is in charge of the weapons systems, which includes Hellfire missiles, rockets, and a 30mm gun.

He said: 'It's a joy for me because I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I'm probably quite useful.'

My father tells me to act more like a prince, admits Harry but he remains unrepentant about nude Las Vegas romp photos, saying he should have been afforded some privacy

Prince Harry is regularly nudged by his father and told to remember who he is, he revealed today.

In a candid interview conducted on the eve of his return to Britain from Afghanistan, the soldier Prince said he found life in the Army made it 'easy to forget' who he was.

Eye on the ball: Prince Harry says he understands the different duties he has to carry out as a royal and as a soldier

He added that he often needed reminding by Prince Charles about keeping his public face up.

He admitted he 'let himself and his family down' after he was photographed naked at a pre-Afghanistan party in Las Vegas last summer, but remained largely unrepentant, saying he deserved some privacy.

The 28-year-old royal, who has been an army officer for six-and-a-half years, said he felt far more comfortable as 'Captain Wales' than 'Prince Harry'.

'Definitely, I've always been like that,' he said.

'My father's always trying to remind me about who I am and stuff like that, but it's very easy to forget who I am when I am in the army.

I'm not academic but I thrash the guys at Fifa: Harry's Camp Bastion downtime

Sitting exams at school was 'a nightmare' for Prince Harry, but like many of his age the third in line to the throne is a whiz at computer games on the PlayStation and Xbox.

Harry, who was educated at Ludgrove Prep School and Eton College, said he was 'absolutely useless' at written tests at school, but is making up for it now by beating his army colleagues at computer games.

He said: 'You can ask the guys: I thrash them at Fifa the whole time.'

In an interview conducted before he flew home to the UK from his deployment as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner (CPG), the 28-year-old revealed how he and his friends in 662 Squadron based in Camp Bastion played computer games and ate pizza when they had time off.

He also talked about his living conditions at the dusty army base, and revealed he was sent a jar of Clarence House honey made by bees at the Prince of Wales' official residence.

The young royal also said his father had sent him a box of Cuban cigars, some of which he traded with American soldiers in exchange for their treats from home.

Showing appealing modesty about his obvious skills as a pilot, the Prince said his skills at sports and games helped pave the way for him to become a top pilot.

He said: 'Exams were always a nightmare, but anything like kicking a ball around or playing PlayStation - or flying - I do generally find a little bit easier than walking, sometimes.

'It's a joy for me because I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I'm probably quite useful.'

While he admits he didn't perform well academically, Prince Harry said he was good at PlayStation and gave many people on his base a run for their money
Royal sibling rivalry: Harry reveals he's jealous of his brother flying and being able to go home to his wife and dog, but says William's envious of his tour of duty

Prince William envies his younger brother flying helicopters on the frontline while Prince Harry envies William his satisfying job and cosy family set-up, the younger Prince revealed today.

In an honest interview conducted before the 28-year-old Prince Harry flew back to Britain after a 20-week tour of Afghanistan, he shed light on his relationship with his brother.

And he revealed that Prince William is privately frustrated at not being able to serve on the frontline because of his future role.

Prince Harry, who has just finished his second deployment in Afghanistan, where he was a co-pilot gunner in Apache helicopters, said: 'I think there is a bit of jealousy, not just the fact that I get to fly this, but obviously he'd love to be out here.

'And to be honest with you, I don't see why he couldn't.

'His job out here would be flying the IRT [Immediate Response Team], or whatever, doing Chinook missions. Just the same as us - no-one knows who's in the cockpit.

'Yes you get shot at, but if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well.

Prince Harry, left, enjoys his job as an Apache helicopter pilot and says brother William, right, who is a Search and Rescue pilot in Wales, would like to see active service