Back in January, we learned that Prince William became a full-fledged military pilot when he graduated from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at Royal Air Force Shawbury. Today we learn that his little brother, Prince Harry, has followed in his footsteps and has also become a British military helicopter pilot. Here are a few photos of Harry getting his provisional pilot’s wings (he won’t get the real thing until he graduates from the military academy) from his father Prince Charles at a special ceremony earlier today:
British Army commanders have selected Prince Harry to train as an Apache attack helicopter pilot, his office said Friday, boosting the 25-year-old’s hopes of returning to the front lines in Afghanistan. Prince Harry, who received his pilot’s wings from his father, Prince Charles, at a ceremony on Friday, said it was a “huge honor” to learn to fly “an awesome helicopter.” “There is still a huge mountain for me to climb if I am to pass the Apache training course,” he said in a statement issued by his London office. To be honest, I think it will be one of the biggest challenges in my life so far,” the statement said. “I am very determined, though, as I do not want to let down people who have shown faith in my ability to fly this aircraft on operations.” The prince, who is third in line to the British throne and is known in the military as Lt. Harry Wales, passed his basic helicopter training course last month. He was one of nine training pilots awarded their provisional wings by Prince Charles, who is Colonel in Chief of the Army Air Corps. “You are looking very smart, if I may say so,” Charles told his son as he inspected the graduates. Chelsy Davy, who has long been romantically linked with Harry, was in attendance, cheering loudly when his name was called out as the winner of the Peter Adams Trophy, a prize for the best tactical ability during the operational training phase. Harry’s success at basic training granted him the right to choose to apply to train on either the Apache, or the Lynx, a battlefield utility helicopter. His office said that Army Air Corps commanders judged that the prince’s skills and flying abilities best suited the Apache, which was designed to hunt and destroy tanks. The helicopter has been extensively used in Afghanistan to assault enemy ground positions and fly cover for Chinook heavy-lift support helicopters. Harry has made no secret of his desire to return to the front lines in Afghanistan.
Ah, yes … Miss Chelsy Davy was there to cheer on her hot royal boyfriend. Prince Wills is happily with Kate Middleton and Harry is still with Chelsy and all is right with the world. I suppose congratulations are in order for the young prince. I suspect it’s no small feat to achieve an honor like this. While some may scoff that he may have only gotten his wings because of his royal stature, it seems very telling to me that Harry wants to get back and fight in the thick of armed combat in Afghanistan. I would think his royal stature would do more to preclude him from going back into combat rather than push him to the front of the line. In any event, I think the folks in the UK can be very proud that they have such able-bodied men in the Princes of Wales that want to serve their country in this way.