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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

PRINCE HARRY |

March 04, 2008

PRINCE HARRY
Name: MSGT Ken Mahoy
Posting date: 3/4/08
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog: Third Time's A Charm!

Framed_mahoy_harry_1_3 The big news in Afghanistan lately has obviously been the reports of Prince Harry being secretly stationed here, and subsequently being removed. The most interesting thing about this story to us here at the ISAF* Headquarters is that many of us didn't know either. Yes, there were obviously a few who knew, particularly his fellow Brits, and those who possess a much higher pay grade than me. But for the most part, we had no idea.

Once we got wind of the story, especially after learning that he was a FAC (Forward Air Controller) who called in close air support, we went back and looked up our past missions. We now knew the “call sign” that he used on the radio (which I can't say here for obvious reasons) and with it we were able to see just how much interaction we had with him. To our surprise, we had flown a number of missions with him, and in fact, there were a few missions that put some serious hurt on the bad guys down in the Southern provinces.

Framed_mahoy_harry_2_2 To us, we just deal in code names and call signs when we speak to the literally hundreds of different people out there, whether they be ground troops, pilots in the air, or other staff members. So flying missions for Harry was no big deal, no different than any other mission we fly, a hundred times each day at least. But the Brits who work with us in our ASOS (Air Support Operations Squadron) are particularly proud to have learned of their own royalty -- the third in line to the throne -- serving on the front lines with them. In fact, one of the Brits who works with us actually "trained" Harry last year on his duties as a FAC. He couldn't say anything at the time for obvious reasons, but once news of Harry hit the airwaves, he was finally able to share his story. Pretty fascinating stuff.

Anyway, the questions coming in asking, "Did you know Harry was there?", and "Did you work with him?", were getting more frequent so I thought I would let you in on what little we did know. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, he was just another call sign at the other end of the radio, but somehow, in the end, it is a little exciting that we got to be a part of it.

*ISAF: International Security Assistance Force

Comments

It had to be rather thrilling and encouraging to the Brits that their own Prince would serve alongside them. Certainly a different example of leadership from the top than is being provided for Americans. And btw, in case I haven't said it lately, thank you all for all you do there---for Afghanistan and for those with whom you serve.

Good for Harry. Thank you all for your service, of course.

A comparison to the American elite isn't really that appropriate - our (British) politicians haven't exactly been storming the recruitment offices either, although I think one Member of Parliament is a reservist who has served in the last few years. The royal family has a long tradition on service in the armed forces as described here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4248712.stm . Even the Queen 'did her bit' in WWII.

I'm glad Harry had the opportunity to show his worth - his is not an easy position to be in.

I agree with Labrys. We do have a presidential candidate and another senator who has a son in the service and deployed and that's a good thing. However, the cognitive dissonance between the rhetoric (magnitude of terrorist threat) and what we're willing to do about it (repetitive tours for the few, no taxes to pay the bill) can be overwhelming. The Army & Marine Corps are at war - America is at the mall.
This generation of young soldiers (God bless 'em) is being just as ruthlessly exploited by GWB as was mine by LBJ.

Army retired:
"I ain't no fortunate son"
JOhn Fogerty
we have different rules for them in our land of equality.

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