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Army desk job for Prince Harry

Prince Harry has switched the focus of his military career from a combat role flying Apache helicopters to a desk job helping to organise major ceremonial events involving the Army.

Harry, who has twice served in Afghanistan, will become a Staff Officer at HQ London District, which plans major spectacles like Trooping the Colour and state visits.

The prince - known as Captain Wales in the Army - was an Apache helicopter commander and co-pilot gunner and flew missions in Helmand Province during his last deployment to Afghanistan completed in January last year.

Officers who want to progress their careers will at some point need to complement their operational experience with a managerial desk job in the UK.

If Harry wants to reach the rank of major a period broadening his military skills will help him achieve his goal - and he could return to fighting on the front line at a later date.

The prince will begin his job in the next few weeks and there is speculation his new role based in Horse Guards in central London will allow him to get involved with the Warrior Games.

Harry flew to America last year to support competitors taking part in the Games, a Paralympic style event for injured servicemen and women, and he hopes to help bring the event to the UK.

Kensington Palace said in a statement: "The Prince will take the position of SO3 (Defence Engagement). His responsibilities will include helping to co-ordinate significant projects and commemorative events involving the Army in London. Prince Harry will retain the rank of Captain and be based from Horse Guards, in Central London.

"Prince Harry spent three and a half years in training and operational service with the Apache Force during his attachment to the Army Air Corps."

Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, who commanded Harry in the Army Air Corps, said: "Captain Wales has reached the pinnacle of flying excellence as an Apache pilot, particularly in Afghanistan and, in the process, has proved to be a real inspiration to the many Army Air Corps officers and soldiers who have come to know him so well over the last two years."

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: " Prince Harry has thoroughly enjoyed his time on attachment to the AAC (Army Air Corps) and all the challenges it has brought.

"He considers it a huge honour to have had the chance to undertake an operational deployment to Afghanistan with the Apache Force and later become a Commander of one of the most advanced aircraft in the world."

Harry spent 18 months learning to fly the Apache and use its deadly firepower, before being deployed to Afghanistan in September 2012.

A few weeks before heading out to the Middle East he was pictured naked during a weekend break in Las Vegas.

Interviewed on his return in January last year the prince said killing the Taliban was a job "you would expect to do" as a soldier.

Harry, an officer with the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals, was on attachment with 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, which is part of 16 Air Assault Brigade's Attack Helicopter Force.

He first served on the frontline in Afghanistan during 2007-08, working for 10 weeks as a forward air controller co-ordinating air strikes on Taliban positions.

Speaking about the Warrior Games a Kensington Palace spokesman said: "Detailed feasibility work is currently being undertaken on behalf of the Royal Foundation and the MoD on concepts and funding for the UK to host the inaugural International Warrior Games later this year.

"A final recommendation will be made at the end of January. Prince Harry was hugely impressed by the Warrior Games, which he visited in the United States in May last year. He said then he would be keen to see it brought to the UK and would do what he could to help."


From Belfast Telegraph