April 18

Prince Harry promoted to Captain


  This is a report in the section of the ACM site," Prince Harry".  Visitors to www.norepublic.com.au  may  access this section through the main menu on the left of the frontpage, or through this icon which is also in the left hand column of the ACM site.

 Prince Harry has been promoted to the rank of Captain.  He enlisted in 2005 and is now training as an Apache helicopter pilot.

In 2007-08, he served in Afghanistan as a forward air controller directing ground attack jets in Helmand province.   This was cut short because of the breach of an embargo by an Australian publication. 

He wishes to return to front-line service.  During a recent four day trek to the North Pole with wounded servicemen, he told the BBC that  it would be pointless for him to have undertaken such costly training if he could not be on active duty.  

"You become a very expensive asset, the training's very expensive and they wouldn't have me doing what I'm doing," he said.  "I'd just be taking up a spare place for somebody else if they didn't have me going out on the job." 

 The Prince was awarded the coveted Apache Badge from his squadron commander on Thursday. A spokesman for St James's Palace confirmed to the media that the Prince had passed an eight-month "conversion to type" course to learn how to fly the Apache helicopter while at the Army Aviation Centre (AAC) at Middle Wallop, Hampshire.  

The helicopter is used by UK forces in Afghanistan to search for the Taliban, intelligence-gathering and to provide support to other helicopters.

(Continued below)

The BBC says that before undertaking his role as best man at his brother Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton on 29 April, Prince Harry will begin the final phase of his training; a "conversion to role" course at Wattisham airfield in Suffolk.

He will then spend time in the US under instruction.

The Prince's official spokesman also outlined other aspects of his training to the media.  The BBC reported him as saying:

"Before progressing on to the night flying phase, Prince Harry was tested using a cockpit blackout system known as the 'Bag'.

"This exercise prepares students for flying on the night-vision system, which displays thermal imagery into the helmet-mounted display over the pilot's right eye.

"The night flying phase lasted approximately three months, culminating in a final assessment, during which students commanded a pair of Apache helicopters at night in order to test their handling, captaincy, understanding of the aircraft system and response to simulated emergencies."


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