October 10, 2011 — Southern California may be known for its blue skies and long stretches of sandy beaches, but that’s not what Britain’s Prince Harry will remember.
Prince Harry — or rather Capt. Harry Wales of the British Army Air Corps — arrived last week at the U.S. Naval Air Facility in El Centro where for two months he will fly and train in Apache helicopters in the desert, the Los Angeles Times reported.
El Centro hosts allied troops throughout the year because its hot, dusty conditions replicate Afghanistan’s harsh environment and the clear weather allows for constant flying, the Washington Post reported.
The Post reported that Prince Harry is among 20 students in the British Army participating in the training that ends at an Air Force station in Gila Bend, Arizona, where they will fire missiles, rockets, and cannons from the Apache helicopters.
After completing the training, Harry, a British army captain, will be cleared for deployment.
His squadron is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan next year, according to reports in the British media.
The 27-year-old prince has been deployed to Afghanistan in the past. For 10 weeks in 2007-08, he served in Afghanistan as an air traffic controller, but he had to be pulled from the field when it became too widely known that he was there, ABC News reported.
Harry is third in line for the British crown, behind his father and older brother.
Prince Harry, second from left, arrives in El Centro, Calif. Credit: Sarah Candito / AFP/Getty Image
Prince Harry stands in front of an Apache helicopter.