On Thursday, Prince Harry touched down at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, California where he will complete the final phase of his training as an Army Apache pilot. Amusingly, the base is close to San Diego where a lot of the 1980s cinema classic Top Gun was filmed!
The royal Top Gun will be based at an army facility approximately 110 miles east of San Diego, which isn’t far, when you consider Prince Harry (26) travelled from the UK to get there! From there, he will head to Gila Bend in Arizona to train at the Air Force Auxiliary Field.
Prince Harry will be in the US for a two month training mission, Exercise Crimson Eagle, in which the British army pilots will practice with the Apaches in terrain similar to southern Afghanistan, where some British troops are currently based. During his trip, Harry will use live fire for the first time in his helicopter gunship training.
And it seems that if you want to see something of the young British royal, you may be in luck. Although Prince Harry’s itinerary will not be made public, as this is a military visit, not a royal one, he will be able to visit nearby areas including San Diego, Palm Springs and Las Vegas, according to British Army Lt. Col. Peter Bullen. The course is intensive but he should have some free time.
In 2007-08, the prince served as a second lieutenant for the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry for 10 weeks in Afghanistan, directing air traffic in offensive strikes against purported Taliban hideouts. His service time was cut short after officials pulled him out of the area. His presence in the area had been leaked to the media, which endangered the prince and his fellow soldiers.
Despite this unfortunate event, this past March, Prince Harry said his “goal is to serve [his] country like everybody else in the British forces.”