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Britain’s Prince Harry ditches helicopters for desk job


In a file picture taken on October 5, 2013 Britain's Prince Harry salutes at Garden Island in Sydney as he arrives to attend the 2013 International Fleet Review. Photo - AFP

London: Britain's Prince Harry is to quit flying army Apache helicopters and take up a desk job organising commemorative military events, Kensington Palace said on Friday.

Captain Wales, as he is known in the military, served in Afghanistan as an Apache co-pilot gunner during his three years with the Army Air Corps.

Kensington Palace said in a statement that 29-year-old Harry "has completed his attachment to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps and will now take up a Staff Officer role".

"His responsibilities will include helping to coordinate significant projects and commemorative events involving the Army in London," the statement said.

Harry, the youngest son of heir to the throne Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, and younger brother of Prince William, will retain the rank of captain, the palace said.

Harry served as an Apache co-pilot gunner during a 20-week tour in Afghanistan's Helmand province which ended in January 2013.

He later qualified as a commander in the attack helicopter.

Harry said during his Apache tour that he had killed Taliban fighters, who were taken "out of the game" by his unit if they targeted British soldiers.

It was his second tour in Afghanistan, after he served 10 weeks in Helmand from late 2007 to early 2008.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, who commanded Harry in the Army Air Corps, praised the fourth in line to the British throne for his service.

"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," de la Rue said.

All British combat troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan before the end of 2014.

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