London: Prince Harry, whose second stint in Afghanistan came to an end on Monday, said that he had fired at Taliban fighters as it was necessary to “take a life to save a life”.
Known as Captain Wales in the Army, the 28 year old Apache co-pilot gunner was returning home after completion of his 20-week deployment in a British military base Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
Giving interviews to media, Prince Harry talked about his life and work in Afghanistan and how he juggled his royal and military roles.
When asked whether he had killed from the cockpit, he said: "Yea, so lots of people have."
"Take a life to save a life. That's what we revolve around, I suppose," he said. "If there are people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game."
Harry said that though it was necessary to fire at the insurgents, but essentially “we're more of a deterrent than anything else”.
He said he tried to balance three facets of his life — "one in the army, one socially in my own private time, and then one with the family and stuff like that."
"So there is a switch and I flick it when necessary," he said.
"Army comes first. It's my work at the end of the day."
A member of the air corps' 662 Squadron, the prince was part of a two-man crew whose duties ranged from supporting ground troops in firefights with the Taliban to accompanying British Chinook and U.S. Black Hawk helicopters as they evacuated wounded soldiers.
Harry shared a room with another pilot in a basic accommodation block made from shipping containers, and passed the time between callouts playing video games and watching movies with his fellow officers. His security detail accompanied him on base, but not when flying.
"It's as normal as it's going to get," Harry said of the arrangement. "I'm one of the guys. I don't get treated any differently."
But he said he still received unwanted attention at Camp Bastion, which is home to thousands of troops.
Harry said it was "a pain in the arse, being stuck in Bastion."
"I'd much rather be out with the lads in a PB (patrol base)," he said.
Despite the frustrations of base life, Harry said he relished the flying: "As soon as we're outside the fence, we're in the thick of it."
Talking about elder brother Prince William, Harry said he should be allowed to serve in combat.
"Yes, you get shot at. But if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well.
"People back home will have issues with that, but we're not special. The guys out there are. Simple as that."
He said that while William was envious of his Afghan experience, his elder brother's job had its advantages.
Talking about his nude pictures from Las Vegas going public, he regretted that he had “let his family down”, but said that he deserved privacy.
He apologized for the incident saying, "It was probably a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince”.
"I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down," Harry said. "But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should be a certain amount of privacy that one should expect."
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 11:01