Prince Harry Opens Up on Life-Changing Afghanistan Mission, Inspiration for Invictus Games

The prince will lead the second Invictus Games in May in Orland, Florida.

ByABC News
March 17, 2016, 8:16 AM

— -- Prince Harry spent 10 years in the British Army serving as Captain Wales and now he's taken on an important mission, supporting injured members of the military and wounded veterans through their recovery.

With the second Invictus Games kicking off in May, the hundreds of service members and veterans from around the world participating will be showcasing their strengths in new ways.

"Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts caught up with Prince Harry at a military facility in Aldershot, England, where Team Great Britain was training for the Invictus Games' swimming competition. She also visited with the fifth-in-line to the British throne at Kensington Palace to discuss just how important this latest mission is to the royal.

“No one wants sympathy. All they want is an opportunity to prove themselves, and that's what this is all about," a visibly moved Prince Harry, 31, told Roberts, of the Invictus Games, which he launched in London in 2014.

The Prince is active on a number of charitable fronts but working with our heroes is at the top of the agenda for this spring. The second Invictus Games will take place May 8-12 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida.

Injured servicemen and women from around the world will compete in everything from cycling, wheelchair basketball and rugby to sitting volleyball and swimming.

"Some of these guys should be dead," he said. "Never before have we had so many amputees survive from such unbelievably traumatic injuries."

"I'm now lucky enough to watch someone who should be dead run the 100 meters," Harry continued. "You want a definition of inspiration? That's probably it."

Prince Harry's Army Inspiration

Prince Harry joined the British Army in May 2005 and rose to the rank of Apache helicopter commander before leaving the Army last year. The British Defense Ministry named Harry the best front-seat pilot, or co-pilot gunner, in February 2012 from his class of more than 20 fellow Apache helicopter pilots.

“Ten years in the Army was the best escape that I've ever had, an escape from all sorts of intrusion," Prince Harry said of his decade-long service. “But I also felt as though I was really achieving something. I felt as though I was part of a team."

"All I wanted to do was to prove to other people that I had a certain set of skills," he said. "All it's done over those 10 years is given me this amazing amount of knowledge and experience where I am now perfectly positioned to be [service members] voice and champion their cause.”

Prince Harry has done precisely just that, becoming an advocate for the wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. He is their biggest supporter, working in a personal recovery unit.

The royal has said he was inspired to start the Invictus Games after attending the Colorado Warrior Games with British service members in Colorado Springs in 2013.

Invictus means unconquered. The goal of the Invictus Games is to use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and gain a wider understanding and respect for just what service members are struggling with.

“I get inspired by them," Prince Harry said of servicemen and women. "How could you not be inspired by them, just by seeing what they do."

For Harry, he says there was a significant moment after his first deployment to Afghanistan that changed his life. The royal served two tours of duty in Afghanistan during his time in the British Army.

“I've been extracted after 10 weeks of my first tour in Afghanistan. I'd done everything I could to get out there. After 10 weeks, I got extracted," Harry said. "Literally, being plucked out of my team and, yes, there was an element of me thinking, 'I'm an officer. I'm leaving my soldiers and it's not my own decision.'"

"I was broken," Prince Harry told Roberts. "I didn't know what was going to happen to them and then suddenly I find myself on a plane that's delayed because a Danish soldier's coffin was being put onto the plane."