01/21/2013

Prince Harry's war: The royal talks about life on front lines, family and Vegas

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Prince Harry shows a television crew his flight helmet as he makes early morning checks on an Apache helicopter at the British controlled flight-line at Camp Bastion. (Getty Images)

Prince Harry has left Afghanistan, leaving behind Taliban casualties and enough wartime experiences to last a lifetime.

The prince was interviewed on a wide variety of topics by newsmen in the war-torn country, on the condition that it not be publically released until his four-month deployment officially ended.

Harry1The embargo was lifted Monday as the 28-year-old Harry took off for England for the first time since last September. During media interviews before Christmas, the Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner covered a lot of topics, from shooting Taliban to his Las Vegas romp to Kate pregnancy.

Some of the highlights:

►On shooting at Taliban targets: "Yeah, so lots of people have. The squadron's been out here. Everyone's fired a certain amount. Probably a little bit more than this time last year, to a certain extent, but that's just the way that its balanced out. Mainly due to weather, well whatever the reasons, I don't know.

"We fire when we have to, take a life to save a life, but essentially we're more of a deterrent than anything else."

►On having his home Camp Bastion being attacked by insurgents: "Obviously the papers back home were like 'this is all against me'. No one really knows yet. But either way, this camp is in the middle of Afghanistan and it should be expected to be attacked at any point ... and it was on my birthday (Sept. 15), so it was a bit of a reality check."

►On the wishes of his brother William, who is an RAF search and rescue pilot in Wales, to be part of a military action: "Obviously he'd love to be out here and I don't see why, to be honest with you, I don't see why he couldn't .... No one knows he's in the cockpit.

Harry2"Yes, he'd get shot at but, you know, if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well. People back home have issues with that, but we're not special -- the guys out there are. Simple as that."

►On switching gears between life as a royal and life as a soldier: "You've got to be able to flick the switch all the time.

"I think I said a while back there's three 'me's, as it were. One in the army, one socially -- my own private time -- and one sort of with the family and stuff like that. So, you know, there is a switch and I flick it when necessary. And I like to think it's measured and balanced .... Army comes first. It is my work at the end of the day."

►On the Las Vegas party last year where he was photographed naked in his hotel room: "At the end of the day I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down.

"But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should have been a certain amount of privacy that one should expect. It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much Army and not enough prince. It's a simple case of that."

Harry11►On his sister-in-law Kate's pregnancy: "Obviously I'm thrilled for both of them. It's about time. I can't wait to be an uncle."

However, he was also dismayed at the early release of news because of fear it would be leaked following her hospitalization for morning sickness. "I think it's very unfair that they were forced to publicize it when they were, but that's just the media for you.

"And I literally am very, very happy for them, but I just only hope that she and him, but mainly Catherine ... gets the necessary protection to allow her as a mother-to-be to enjoy the privacy that that comes with."

►On life at Camp Bastion for a helicopter pilot: "For me, I hate it out, being stuck here. I'd much rather be out with the lads in the PB (patrol base). The last job (in Afghanistan as a soldier in 2007) was, for me personally, better."

However, he admitted life inside the heavily-armed Apache helicopter was not without danger. "You can't get a free pass in this tour; you can't get a free pass on anything in the army really. As soon as we're outside the fence, we're in the thick of it."

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In this image released on Monday, Prince Harry celebrates as he scores a goal during a computer football game with his fellow Apache helicopter pilot Capt. Simon Beattie, during their 12-hour VHR (very high readiness) shift at the British controlled flight-line in Camp Bastion on Nov. 3. (Getty Images)

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Prince Harry wears a Santa Claus hat as speaks with media at the VHR (very high readiness) tent at Camp Bastion on Dec. 12. (Reuters)

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Prince Harry  relaxes during a computer football game with fellow Apache Helicopter crew members, during their 12 hour shift at the British controlled flight-line in Camp Bastion. (Getty Images)

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Prince Harry races out from the VHR (very high readiness) tent to scramble his Apache with fellow pilots in Camp Bastion. The prince served as an Apache helicopter pilot/gunner with 662 Sqd Army Air Corps from September until January. (Getty Images)

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Prince Harry makes early morning checks as he sits on an Apache helicopter at the British controlled flight-line at Camp Bastion a few weeks before Christmas. The media was allowed to document his experiences at war on the condition they don't release the information until after his deployment was over. (Getty Images)

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Prince Harry looks out as an  Apache helicopter at Camp Bastion. (Getty Images)

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Captain Wales, as he is known in the British Army, does a pre-flight check of his Apache helicopter. (AP Photo)

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Prince Harry prepares his Apache helicopter before a night mission from Camp Bastion in this photo taken Dec. 11, 2012. (Reuters)

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good show prince harry. proud of you

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