Prince Harry’s trips to see Apache pals at Top Gun air base: Duke ‘visited US training camp in Las Vegas for drinks with two ex-colleagues from his days piloting attack helicopters’
- Harry has allegedly been meeting up with old friends from helicopter training
- It is believed two former colleagues he visits are at Nellis base near Las Vegas
- A source recently said: ‘Harry has kept in touch with them so when they knew he was moving to the States they invited him to come and see them’
Prince Harry has reportedly been paying secret visits to a US air force base after he was stripped of his military patronages when he and Meghan stepped down from the Royal Family.
Even though Harry doesn’t have an official role in the UK Army, he has allegedly been meeting up with old friends from when he was an Apache helicopter pilot, according to The Sun.
It is believed that two of his old colleagues are now at Nellis base near Las Vegas – where the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor programme (commonly known as TOPGUN) are trained.
A source told the publication: ‘Harry has kept in touch with them so when they knew he was moving to the States they invited him to come and see them.
Even though Harry doesn’t have an official role in the UK Army, he has allegedly been meeting up with old friends from when he was an Apache helicopter pilot
It is believed that two of his old colleagues are now at Nellis base near Las Vegas – where the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor programme (commonly known as TOPGUN) are trained
‘He’s made informal visits to the air base where they are and they’ve been out for drinks in their down time.’
Prince Harry, 36, is now prevented from wearing full military regalia. Should he attend a Remembrance Sunday event he could wear his medals and a regimental beret but not a uniform.
Garments he should no longer wear are understood to include the Blues and Royals frockcoat worn on his wedding day in May 2018 and the Royal Marines dress uniform he wore to the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020, shortly before he stepped down as a senior royal.
A source said: ‘Harry has kept in touch with them so when they knew he was moving to the States they invited him to come and see them’
It is believed that Harry is visiting friends he made while completing a helicopter training programmed at a US military base in California in 2011.
Back in 2005 Prince Harry, then aged only 20, climbed the ornate steps of the Old College at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) to begin his officer training. It was widely remarked in the following years that the Army became his family.
He subsequently served his country with distinction on the frontline in Afghanistan, both as a soldier on the ground and later as a helicopter pilot.
After Sandhurst Prince Harry commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Blues and Royals, a regiment of the Household Cavalry, in 2006. A debate soon began about whether he could deploy with his unit to Iraq.
Prince Harry standing in front of his Apache Helicopter in the remote California desert in 2011
As he was not directly in line to the throne many senior army figures thought he should go.
Eventually the Ministry of Defence, after drawn-out discussions with Buckingham Palace, was persuaded that he would be a high profile target whose presence would endanger those deployed with him.
He served as a Forward Air Controller with a desert reconnaissance unit. In doing so he became the first member of the Royal Family to serve on the frontline since Prince Andrew took part in the Falklands War in 1982 as a helicopter pilot.
On his return to the UK from Afghanistan Prince Harry was advised to retrain as a helicopter pilot should he wish to go back to the conflict – though secretly few senior officers expected him to pass the necessary selection tests.
HRH Prince Harry wears his monocle gun sight as he sits in the front seat of his cockpit where he is serving as an Apache helicopter pilot in 2012
But he defied their low expectations, qualifying as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner.
He returned to Helmand Province in September 2012 with the Army Air Corps and duly completed a four-month operational tour.
Harry then focused on veterans’ welfare and helped set up the Invictus Games, a version of the Paralympics for injured military personnel, before retiring from the Army in June 2015.
In December 2017, Harry accepted the role of Captain General of the Royal Marines from his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had served in this capacity for a remarkable 64 years.
No more Commodore in Chief of Little Ships
The honorary military titles that Prince Harry has lost:
Captain General, Royal Marines
As the ceremonial head of the Royal Marines, Harry was appointed in December 2017, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh.
He made numerous visits to the Commando Training Centre in Devon and to Norway for arctic warfare drills.
He made his last appearance in Royal Marines uniform at a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2020.
Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington
Appointed by the Queen in 2008 and visited the base on at least three occasions in his formal role.
In 2010 he presented the families of two servicemen killed in Afghanistan with the Elizabeth Cross.
Royal Air Force Honington, near Bury St Edmunds, is the RAF’s centre of Force Protection.
Commodore-in-Chief, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving
Appointed in August 2006 in recognition of the links between the Navy and the Royals.
Opened the £30million Amphibious Centre of Excellence at Devonport Naval Base in 2013.
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