Prince Harry swaps
Apache helicopter
for military desk job

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Prince Harry has switched the focus of his military career from a combat role flying Apache helicopters to a desk job in central London 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 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 become a 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 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: “Prince Harry will retain the rank of Captain and be based from Horse Guards, in Central London.

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 before being deployed to Afghanistan in September 2012.

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.