12:05AM, Tuesday 17 March 2015
Prince Harry is to leave the armed forces in June after 10 years of full-time military service, Kensington Palace has announced.
During his time in the military the prince, known as Captain Harry Wales, has undertaken two operational tours of duty in Afghanistan, qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander and spearheaded the Invictus Games.
In a statement he said: "After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process.
"From learning the hard way to stay onside with my Colour Sergeant at Sandhurst, to the incredible people I served with during two tours in Afghanistan - the experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that I will always be hugely grateful.
"Inevitably most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career. Luckily for me, I will continue to wear the uniform and mix with fellow servicemen and women for the rest of my life, helping where I can, and making sure the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last."
Before leaving operational service, Prince Harry will spend four weeks in April and May seconded to the Australian Defence Force, where he will be attached to various units to gain an appreciation of the Australian Army's domestic operating environment and capabilities. He is expected to spend time at Army Barracks in Darwin, Perth and Sydney where he will take part in a range of unit-based activities, training exercises and domestic deployments.
During his attachment to the Australian Defence Force, Prince Harry will accompany The Prince of Wales in attending the Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey on April 24 and 25.
Additionally, the prince will undertake an official Royal tour to New Zealand in May, at the invitation of the New Zealand Government.
The prince's statement added: "I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities. Spending time with the Australian Defence Force will be incredible and I know I will learn a lot. I am also looking forward to coming back to London this summer to continue working at the Personal Recovery Unit.
"So while I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter. I am really looking forward to it."
Prince Harry's duties began in May 2005 as an officer cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
In April 2006 he was commissioned as an army officer, joining the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals) before undertaking the Troop Leaders Course.
In late 2007/early 2008 he deployed to Afghanistan as a Forward Air Controller.
In April 2008, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with The Household Cavalry. Prince Harry began training as an Army Air Corps Pilot in January 2009. Following the completion of his Army Pilot's Course he was selected to train as an Apache Pilot. In July 2010, he began the 18-month Apache training course, during which he was awarded the prize for best Co-Pilot Gunner. He became a fully operational Apache Attack Helicopter Pilot in February 2012.
Prince Harry undertook an operational tour of Afghanistan as an Apache Pilot between September 2012 and January 2013. In July 2013, he qualified as Apache Aircraft Commander.
In January 2014, Prince Harry completed his attachment to the Army Air Corps and transferred to a Staff Officer role in HQ London District, where he helped organise the Invictus Games and is currently working alongside Case Officers in the Personal Recovery Unit.
After completing his operational service with the Armed Forces in June, Prince Harry will spend a period of summer carrying out a programme of voluntary work alongside field-based conservation experts in Africa.
In Autumn, he will return to work in a voluntary capacity with the Ministry of Defence's Recovery Capability Programme.
In addition to this he will continue to support the Queen through a programme of official engagements.
General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the General Staff, has released the following tribute to the prince:
"Captain Harry Wales, as he is known affectionately in the Army, has achieved much in his ten years as a soldier. He has been at the forefront throughout his service. He has insisted on being treated the same as his peers.
"His first deployment with his Regiment, The Household Cavalry, to Helmand in 2008 was as a Forward Air Controller. This was a job that demanded skill, judgment and professionalism. Qualities he showed still further when he decided to transfer to the Army Air Corps. This led to his second tour in Helmand as an Apache helicopter pilot, where once again he was at the forefront of the operation, selflessly supporting those on the ground.
"However, it is probably his work during the past two years, which has brought him the most pleasure and fulfilment - the highlight being the extraordinary Invictus Games last year. And I am very pleased that his first taste of civilian life later this year will involve a new role in support of our injured servicemen and women. He has raised their profile through the care he has shown them and they admire him hugely.
"In the meantime he is deploying to Australia to spend time on exchange with the Australian Army. These are important programmes with our allies and partners, which help build understanding and knowledge of each other’s capabilities, and further strengthen the close bonds between our armies.
"We wish him the very best for the future, we thank him for his service, and we look forward to his continuing involvement with his regiments and with our wounded."
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