Prince Harry Flies One Step Closer to Tom Cruise

Oct 7, 2011 2:31pm
 Prince Harry Flies One Step Closer to Tom Cruise

                                                                                 Sarah Candito/USDepartment of Defense

Look out America, Prince Harry has landed.

England’s royal top gun touched down in El Centro, Calif., Thursday in the first stop of his two-month stay in the United States to complete a military-helicopter training course.

Harry, a captain in the Army Air Corps, will spend the first month of his stay at El Centro’s Naval Air Facility, the same location where America’s own “Top Gun,” Tom Cruise, filmed scenes from the iconic 1986 film of the same name.

Harry, like Cruise, will be able to mingle with the locals of the remote, desert town, population 40,000, although the conditions, and nightlife, will likely be a royal shock compared to his palatial surroundings in London.

The prince, 27, traveled with 20 other officers in the British Apache Unit to El Centro, a town chosen for the training, known as Exercise Crimson Eagle, because its hot, dusty conditions replicate Afghanistan’s harsh environment.

Harry deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 but was held back from his infantry’s regiment to the front line because he was considered a high-value target.

After four weeks in California, “Captain Wales,” as he is known in his unit, will then head to the Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field in Arizona to complete the eight-week training.

When he finishes in the United States, he will be assigned to an Apache squadron with the British Apache Unit  back home and await deployment to Afghanistan.

England’s prime minister will make the final call about whether Harry will join his fellow officers in the war zone.

While stateside, the adventure-seeking Prince will get his first chance since he joined the military in 2005 to fire a live weapon during live-firing exercises across the desert sky.

Harry and his fellow officers are allowed off base during their free time in El Centro, but are not permitted to cross the nearby border into Mexico.

British officers training on similar duty as Harry do traditionally, however, take a half-term trip to Las Vegas, also within close reach of the Prince’s new, albeit temporary, home.

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