I tend to spend a lot of time on the fence at Wattisham photographing AH
's, and since the Prince turned up I've half expected to fall over the paparazzi hiding in the bushes, etc... Although there's been no sign of them yet.
I've already had one enquiry from the 'press' saying that if I get a picture of him flying an AH
they will make me a offer - needless to say, I didn't bother answering. Daft idiots specified that he had be identifiable in the picture, which shows how much they know about the Apache. He is currently flying routine training sorties out of Wattisham, I believe I heard him recover as part of a pair of AH
's on Wednesday evening.
On the question of him going into combat and the press coverage in the UK papers this week; of course he will go on Operation Herrick once he completes CTR and his squadron takes it turn in the AH
rotation. That would have been decided even before he started basic CTT at Middle Wallop, as there was no way in hell he would be allocated a valuable and expensive spot on the course (remember, the AAC AH
fleet is still undermanned although it's better than in the past) if there was not going to be a return on the investment, the fallout in the press would have been relentless.
Flying the Apache is probably one of the safest and most easily hidden roles for him to return to Operation Herrick. No UK Apache has been downed so far, and only one badly damaged in a accident (still unknown if it will be rebuilt, and even the AAC itself didn't know as of a couple of weeks ago) and no UK AH
crewman has been injured in combat, despite operating in a combat role intheatre constantly since 2006. Anonymity is also standard practise amongst UK Apache aircrew already, so little extra is required to accomodate the Prince.
[Edited 2011-06-17 05:54:01]