British Prince Harry reports for duty in Australia next week

AP News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 10:54 PM
British Prince Harry reports for duty in Australia next week

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Prince Harry arrives in Australia's national capital next week to begin four weeks of training with the Australian army before the British royal ends his decade-long military career.

The fourth in line to the British throne will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Canberra on Monday in his first public function on arriving in Australia, the Defense Department said in a statement Thursday.

The 30-year-old veteran of two tours of Afghanistan will then explore the World War I and Afghanistan galleries at the Australian War Memorial before reporting for duty to Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, who is Australia's Defense Force Chief.

Captain Harry Wales, as he is known in the British Army, will be embedded with a number of Australian army units and regiments in the cities of Sydney, Darwin and Perth.

He will also attend centenary commemorations of the World War I Gallipoli campaign in Turkey on April 25.

In a statement released in March confirming he would quit the British military in June, Harry said that leaving the army had been "a really tough decision" but he was excited about the future.

Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot, will be attached to an aviation squadron in the east coast city of Sydney and work with the elite Special Air Service Regiment in the west coast city of Perth, a defense official said on condition of anonymity, citing departmental policy.

In the northern city of Darwin, which will become a training hub for 1,050 U.S. Marines in the coming weeks, Harry will work with a predominantly Aboriginal infantry regiment, the North-West Mobile Force, better known as NORFORCE, the official said.

Harry's appearance at the war memorial is the only opportunity defense officials have planned so far for the royal to meet members of the public during his stay that is expected to end about May 9.

Harry, who will remain involved in advocacy for wounded veterans after his military career, will meet wounded Australian soldiers to see how they are being rehabilitated.

"Defense's focus for this attachment is to provide Capt. Wales with an authentic military experience in the Australian army that builds on his previous experience with coalition forces and complements his work with wounded, injured and ill service personnel," the statement said.

He would take part in urban training exercises, Outback patrols, flight simulation and other aviation activities, joint fire exercises and indigenous engagement activities, the statement said.

Harry will also take part in routine army life such as physical and first-aid training plus pack marches, it said.

About 5,000 British and Australian troops have taken part since an exchange program between the two armies began in 1976.