Prince Harry's Tour Duty in Afghanistan
SKY'S THE LIMIT
You can call him Captain Wales! Prince Harry, 28, leaves life in the Palace for Afghanistan, where he began serving his now-completed four-month tour of duty as an Apache attack helicopter co-pilot in September. "Take a life to save a life," he says in a recently released interview about the frontline. That's what we revolve around."
The hard-working prince squeezes in some play, too, as he takes control ... of the joystick! "I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I'm probably quite useful," he jokes. "You can ask the guys – I thrash them at FIFA [soccer video game] the whole time."
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Before he sits in the pilot seat, the captain, who previously served in the conflict-riven country in 2007 and 2008, takes time to field questions from the media. "Our father flew. Uncle's flown. All sorts of people have flown in my family," he says. "I was given the opportunity in the end, and I couldn't say no to it."
Trading in his uniform for a T-shirt, the uncle-to-be shows off his artistic side while stationed at British base Camp Bastion.
Life in the British Army, he says, is "as normal as it's going to get" for the royal, who blends right in as "one of the guys" during his downtime.
MAN ON A MISSION
Hang on tight! The prince prepares for a day of work with Britain's 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corp, which means braving the frontline and the threat of the Taliban. "No one knows who's in the cockpit," he says, adding, "Yes, you get shot at."
MADE IN THE SHADE
Outside the cockpit, a low-key Harry puts his feet up with a fellow army pal. Still, "I go into the cook house, and everyone has a good old gawp," he says. "That's one thing that I dislike about being [at a large base] because there's plenty of guys in there that have never met me and therefore look at me as Prince Harry and not as Captain Wales, which is frustrating."
READY, SET, GO!
The royal's on the run during one of his 12-hour shifts. "Every time you run to the aircraft, you get that adrenaline rush," he says. "Then once you're in the aircraft, you've got to try and slow yourself down because otherwise, if the adrenaline's pumping too much and everything happens too quickly, then you're going to miss something."
Spending the holiday season from the war zone, Harry still manages to get into the Christmas spirit – just check out his Santa hat! "I get on well with the lads, and I enjoy my job," he says. "It really is as simple as that."