Continued from page 1

“For me it’s not that normal because I go into the cookhouse and everyone has a good old gawp, and that’s one thing that I dislike about being here,” he said. “Because there’s plenty of guys in there that have never met me, therefore look at me as Prince Harry and not as Capt. Wales, which is frustrating.”

Ever since Harry graduated from the Sandhurst military academy in 2006, his desire for a military career has collided with his royal role. After his curtailed first Afghan deployment, he retrained as a helicopter pilot in order to have the chance of being sent back.

The speed and height at which Apaches fly make them hard for insurgents to shoot down, but Harry’s squadron commander, Maj. Ali Mack, said the prince had still faced real danger.

“There is nothing routine about deploying to an operational theater _ where there is absolutely an insurgency _ and flying an attack helicopter in support of both ISAF and Afghan security forces,” Mack said.

The danger was underscored soon after Harry arrived at Camp Bastion in September, when insurgents attacked the adjacent U.S. base, Camp Leatherneck, killing two U.S. marines and wounding several other troops.

Harry said he would have preferred to have been deployed on the ground with his old regiment, the Household Cavalry, rather than spending his tour of duty at Camp Bastion, a fortified mini-city replete with shops, gyms and a Pizza Hut restaurant.

Harry said it was “a pain in the arse, being stuck in Bastion.”

“I’d much rather be out with the lads in a PB (patrol base),” he said.

Despite the frustrations of base life, Harry said he relished the flying: “As soon as we’re outside the fence, we’re in the thick of it.”

“Yes, OK, we’re supposedly safe, but anything can go wrong with this thing, but at the end of the day we’re out there to provide cover and protection for the guys on the ground,” he said.

Many of Harry’s family have also seen combat _ most recently his uncle, Prince Andrew, who flew Royal Navy helicopters during the 1982 Falklands War. His grandfather, Prince Philip, served on Royal Navy battleships during World War II.

Older brother William, who is second in line to the throne, is a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot. He, too, has expressed a desire to serve on the front line, but officials consider it too dangerous.

Harry said he thought William should be allowed to serve in combat.

“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.

“People back home will have issues with that, but we’re not special. The guys out there are. Simple as that.”

Story Continues →