The announcement of Harry's deployment is somewhat of a surprise after his last mission was cut short in 2008, when word leaked out he was in Afghanistan. Digital Journal
reported that military officials were concerned that his security, and that of his fellow soldiers, would be compromised by the revelation. However this time, the British Ministry of Defence issued a news release
, along with photos, announcing his deployment. The news release says, "Captain Wales's deployment has been long-planned and the threat to him and others around him thoroughly assessed. Any risk posed by Captain Wales's deployment, based on capability, opportunity and intent of the insurgency, has been, and will continue to be, assessed."
The third in line to the British throne will be flying missions as an Apache Helicopter pilot. Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, Deputy Commander of the JAG and Commanding Officer of 3 Regiment Army Air Corps in the UK, says
, "Captain Wales is a serving soldier and a qualified Apache pilot having completed the Apache Conversion to Role course earlier this year. As such, and after further flying experience, he has deployed along with the rest of the squadron as part of a long-planned and scheduled deployment to provide support to ISAF and Afghan forces operating in Helmand."
reports Harry, who turns 28 next week, becomes the first member of the Royal Family to see active combat since his uncle, Prince Andrew, fought in the Falklands war.
He has made no secret of the fact that he wanted to go back to Afghanistan. The BBC
says the prince suggested in April, that it would be pointless to train as a helicopter pilot if he never got the chance to serve. "I'd just be taking up a spare place for somebody else if they didn't have me going out on the job. "
Last month, Digital Journal
reported that Harry was making headlines around the world when he partied it up in Las Vegas, with photos of a naked prince at one party, during a game of strip billiards.