Skip to comments.Prince Harry: Send me to war or I quit
Posted on 04/23/2006 2:39:38 AM PDT by MadIvan
Prince Harry has threatened to quit the Army if commanders refuse to send him to the front line.
He told senior officers before recently passing out of Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant: If I am not allowed to join my unit in a war zone, I will hand in my uniform.
Harry, 21, and third in line to the throne, has previously talked of his desire to see action with his comrades and the prospect of him walking out on the Army if he is not allowed on to the front line has turned a theoretical problem into a nightmare for the Palace and Ministry of Defence.
The embarrassment for the Army caused by him quitting would be matched by uproar at the notion that while ordinary citizens are allowed to that their main problem is not whether Harry can take the pressure of coming under fire in action but whether the lives of the men fighting alongside him will be more at risk because he is regarded as a trophy target by insurgents.
One experienced commander said: Second Lt Wales will, as far as is possible, be treated like any other officer but there has to be a line drawn as to whether the men he leads might experience extra danger due to his presence. Decisions will be taken by commanding officers based on an accurate risk assessment at the time.
In talks between the MoD and Clarence House, it has been suggested that if Harry is deployed to the front line he should be given a safe role, acting as a liaison officer at a military HQ well away from the action.
But sources close to Harry said last night: He will go bananas if he is given special treatment. He doesnt want to let the rest of the lads and lasses down by opting out. He was always the first to volunteer on exercises.
In the final weeks of his Sandhurst training, Harry took part in an exercise in which he acted as commanding officer and sources say that his performance was outstanding.
The mobility of the Blues and Royals light Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles will be a great value in Afghanistan and senior commanders say the Cavalry unit could be sent to Helmand province to support Paras in what is regarded as one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
Harry would command a troop of 11 men who would drive into the front line in their Scimitars.
He would lead his men in searching possibly booby-trapped buildings, hunting down insurgents and providing escorts and combat support to infantry operations.
Harry would be required to command his Scimitar team and remain on the ground, although all troop commanders are expected to do their stint in the operations room, which involves logging events, co-ordinating patrols and directing support where needed.
The Household Cavalry made up of the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards is one of the most active units in the British Army and its most senior and oldest regiment.
It has troops attached to the Paras and the Marines, took part in the invasion of Iraq and has since deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Next month, a squadron of the Household Cavalry will go to Afghanistan in support of 16 Air Assault Brigade. A second squadron is on standby to deploy to Iraq this year and another is preparing to back 3 Commando Brigade when it departs to Afghanistan later this year.
D Squadron of the Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR) supported 16 Air Assault Brigade during the initial battles in the Iraq conflict. HCR also deployed two squadrons to Iraq in 2004.
A high percentage of its officers serve in the SAS and its squadrons support both the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment. The Household Cavalrys Scimitars spearheaded the advance across the Falklands in 1982, led the way in Bosnia and were first into Saudi Arabia in 1991 before the first Gulf War and again in Iraq in 2003.
Elements of the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards have regularly deployed to Iraq and three Cavalrymen have been killed. They were Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, Lance Corporal Karl Shearer and Lieutenant Alexander Tweedie, all from the Blues and Royals.
Three years ago during the battle for Basra, Trooper Chris Finney of the Blues and Royals, who was just 19, won a rare George Cross for gallantry for saving his comrades after their Scimitar came under attack, by mistake, from American bombers.
Young men of Harrys rank have regularly lost their lives in Iraq. Only a week ago, Lt Richard Palmer, of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, died after his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb near Ad Day, north-west of Basra. In July 2005, Second Lt Richard Shearer, 26, from Nuneaton, of the 1st Battalion, Staffordshire Regiment, died with Privates Leon Spicer and Phillip Hewett in a roadside bomb blast north of Basra.
Harry will be only the second Royal since the Second World War to be posted to a battle zone.
The other was Prince Andrew, who flew Sea King helicopters in the Falklands War. A Clarence House die for their country, members of the Royal Family are considered too important to risk. It would also reopen the debate about Britains role in engagements such as Iraq which are widely unpopular and considered by many to be illegal.
The Mail on Sunday revealed last year that the Palace and MoD were holding crisis talks about how to handle Harrys future military role.
However, his ultimatum has now raised the stakes. It will also increase the urgency of deciding how to treat Prince William who is due to leave Sandhurst in December, presenting Royal and defence officials with the same dilemma about how near the front line he should be allowed.
Harrys unit, the Blues and Royals, will deploy to Afghanistan this year and he is likely to join them there next year. Senior Army sources say
His red hair, alone, would mark him out.
He must be trying to find himself. Second in line, after his brother. Looking for his own spot in history?
He's following in the footsteps of his Uncle Andrew, who was in the front line in the Falklands.
"Second in line, after his brother."
Third, actually, after his father and brother.
GO HARRY! May you be safe, but good on you for a good attitude!
More fellows like this I say, and less panty-waists all around.
I admire his determination also. It is a special man who runs TO the disturbance, the sound of guns, the danger of personal harm. If he is allowed to go, I wish him luck and safety, and I hope that he finds the leader in himself that he seeks. In time, the citizens of England may need that leadership.
I admire his intent to serve his country on the front lines. As a technical question, however, can one just 'quit' the military if not given the opportunity one desires?
Ditto. Quite impressed with Harry's maturation.
Can Harry run for PM? Not sure he would want the job, but perhaps he would appreciate the challenge of an elected leadership position.
He wouldm't be the first royal to see active duty in a war zone.
I had always understood that the nobility, including the royals, were treated the same as any other officer once they put on HM uniform and were sent wherever the good of the service required and were treated according to their rank, not according to their title of nobility.
As to exposing his men to danger, modern combat camoflage does not allow a royal to be any more noticeable than any other junior officer.
It looks like someone at Buck house is attempting to interfere with the military chain of command and the kid doesn't like it.
OTOH, attempting to blackmail senior officers into allowing him to pick his posting is not a good career move for someone just coming out of Sandhurst.
I do too! Its got to be real tough being that kid and I'm sure all he wants is a normal life just like the rest of us.
The Royals are explicitly forbidden to involve themselves in politics - even Charles' outbursts are viewed with suspicion.
As for becoming PM - an interview with Harry was illuminating in this sense: he was aware of his limitations, he regards himself as someone who "likes to work outside". If he wasn't a royal, he'd probably be in the military anyway, or in farming or construction, he's not someone who likes desk work.
So what he's doing is about the best he can do for his country, given his aptitudes and interests.
I think it's wonderful. Nice to see he's got a pair. I hope he gets his way and manages to survive.
I hope he gets his wish, and that he returns safe, a roll model for both our peoples. We need them so much more these days.
Bravo to the Lieutenant (formerly known as Prince)
(Sorry, couldn't resist that.)
Really I do respect his Gung Ho attitude very much. Guess he takes after his Uncle Andrew in more ways than one.
Aren't there rumors that his father is actually a military man?
I didn't know his last names was actually "Wales" as in Lt. Wales. Quite extraordinary.
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