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Harry: I killed Taliban insurgents
Prince Harry has confirmed he killed Taliban insurgents during his latest tour of Afghanistan.
As a gunner in Apache attack helicopters, the royal flew on scores of missions with his fingers on the triggers of deadly rockets, missiles and a 30mm cannon.
And now that the 28-year-old is bound for the UK after his second deployment to the war-torn country, it can be reported he took enemy fighters "out of the game" during his 20-week posting.
"Yeah, so lots of people have," he said matter-of-factly, after being asked if he had killed from the cockpit. "The squadron's been out here. Everyone's fired a certain amount."
Harry, who is known as Captain Wales in the Army, was sent on all manner of missions over Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, from supporting allied troops fighting the Taliban at close quarters to accompanying British Chinook and US Black Hawk helicopters on daring casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) missions.
His work as a JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) during his first tour of duty in 2007-08 saw him call in air strikes on enemy positions, which he watched unfold on a monitor nicknamed "Kill TV".
This time, it was him in the hot seat. "Take a life to save a life," he shrugged. "That's what we revolve around, I suppose. If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game, I suppose."
The prince's deployment with 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, allowed him to step back from the public eye, but speaking to reporters while stationed at Camp Bastion he admitted he had "let himself and his family down" by romping naked in a Las Vegas hotel suite just weeks earlier.
Life in the Army is "as normal as it's going to get" for Harry and he relishes having the chance to muck in as "one of the guys", but he said his father, the Prince of Wales, is always reminding him of his position. The current third-in-line to the throne was in Afghanistan when it was announced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child, and he said he was "thrilled" for the couple and "can't wait to be an uncle".
Captain Wales was hailed by his colleagues and superiors for fitting into his unit well and for being "on top of his game" during the "extremely busy" and dangerous tour. However, the prince revealed he would rather have returned to fight on the front line alongside troops from his regiment, the Household Cavalry.