Prince Harry to serve in Iraq
Thursday. 2.22.07 3:36 pm
By TARIQ PANJA Associated Press Writer
Britain's Prince Harry salutes his father Prince Charles (not shown) as he leaves, following The Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy, where Harry received his military commission at Sandhurst, England in this Wednesday, April 12, 2006 file photo. The Ministry of Defense ended speculation that had been swirling for about a week by announcing Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007, the 22-year-old prince will be sent to Iraq with his Blues and Royals regiment in May or June. Harry, a second lieutenant, will assume a troop commander's role.
LONDON (AP) - He's the redheaded son of the late Princess Diana, the rowdy royal known more for dancing until dawn than waking for battle. But Britain's party prince, Harry, is getting his wish and going to Iraq with his Blues and Royals regiment.
Royal officials announced Thursday that 22-year-old Harry would be deployed to Basra, confirming the tabloid speculation about the future of the best-recognized tank commander in Britain. His regiment is expected to complete a six-month tour.
The prince, a second lieutenant, has been trained to lead a team of 12 men in four armored reconnaissance vehicles, and could become the first royal to see active combat since his uncle Prince Andrew served in the Falklands war against Argentina in 1982.
Word of the deployment follows only one day after Prime Minister Tony Blair said British troop numbers in Iraq will be cut by 1,600 in the coming months. The daily tabloid newspaper, the Sun, opined _ "1,600 out ... One in."
Britain will hand over most of security in the Basra area to Iraqi security forces, concentrating its troops at the city's palace and air base. Iraqi insurgent groups looking to target Cornet Wales _ as his rank is called in the Blues and Royals _ will not have to look far to find him _ which has led to concern his presence could mean extra risks for his men.
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