Prince Harry was deployed to Afghanistan yesterday for a four-month stint flying an Apache helicopter. The prince, who turns 28 in a week, trained for this duty for 18 months and was qualified in February.
The royal family denies all suspicions that the deployment is some kind of punishment for the naked adventures Prince Harry enjoyed in Las Vegas just a few weeks ago. On the contrary, a British military representative said the deployment was a “long-planned and scheduled” event, with the Las Vegas trip as somewhat of a last hurrah for Prince Harry before heading to Afghanistan.
This is the second deployment for Prince Harry, who served for 10 weeks in 2007 and 2008. That tour was cut short when the UK’s Ministry of Defence decided it was too dangerous; the deployment was supposed to be a secret, but word got out despite a media blackout.
This time, Prince Harry’s risk as a pilot is considered “low.” The British military has never lost an Apache helicopter, despite Taliban claims otherwise, and there was no media blackout of the deployment.
Prince Harry will be stationed at Camp Bastion, in the heart of Taliban territory. It’s expected that he will be treated like any other solder, though he is the first royal family member to be on active military duty since his uncle, Andrew.