Prince Harry’s former Apache instructor bad-mouths Harry in a new interview

In Spare, Prince Harry devoted a big chunk of the memoir to his military service, especially his second tour in Afghanistan. By his second tour, he had been trained as an Apache pilot. Harry frames his tours of duty through a mental health perspective, as he discusses how he was trained not to think about the human element or the political element, the fact that he’s taken human life as part of his job and whether these were politically justifiable kills. In Spare, he wrote his “number” – the number of people he killed – and he did so in a thoughtful way, in the context of the larger conversation of mental health and the military. When promoting Spare, he told Stephen Colbert that he revealed his number simply to encourage veterans to talk to their families and get help, and that he wanted to prevent veteran suicides. The British media – and even the British Defense Secretary – have all done the most to make it sound like Harry was “bragging” about his kills. He was not. They’re just a–holes. Speaking of, Harry’s Apache trainer Steve Jones has written a book called Apache at War: Flying the World’s Deadliest Attack Helicopter in Combat. The Telegraph interviewed him specifically so he could bad-mouth Harry.

Jones’s book includes stories about Harry: They include his time training the most famous British Apache pilot, Prince Harry. After going to Afghanistan as an infantryman in 2008, the Duke trained as a pilot and returned as an Apache gunner in 2012, when he was 27. “I remember the first time [Harry and I] met, in a briefing, it felt like he was briefing me,” Jones says, speaking over Zoom from his home in Aberdeenshire, where these days he flies commercial helicopters in the oil industry. “I was distracted, thinking ‘this is the third-in-line to the throne’. Then I thought ‘actually, he’s just another student. He doesn’t get any favours from me. If anything, he’s going to have to try harder.’

Harry worked hard & played hard: “I’ve had people say he only passed because of who he is. Nothing could be further from the truth. He definitely played hard, but he would work hard as well. He was a good student, but he tried to be a bit of a joker a few times and you’d have to slap him back down.”

Jones thinks Harry enjoyed his time in the military: “I think when Harry was around the military he could relax a bit. There was no fear of someone taking photos and telling the press what he was doing. He was relaxed enough to have a chat. He wouldn’t open up to me because I was the instructor, the sergeant major, and he was him, but we had mutual respect. He tended to concentrate on the smaller things, sometimes to the detriment of the bigger picture.He would try and be very picky and accurate. The whole world might be burning down behind him, but as long as he could get 35 knots [he would be happy]. It was about trying to get him out, start to relax, look at the periphery, see what’s going on and start to take in the wider picture. In an Apache you have to be three steps ahead. He was good at the finer detail but at times he was perhaps too narrow-minded and focused. But in the end he did really well.”

Jones on Harry “abandoning his duties” lol: Jones is more circumspect when it comes to the Duke of Sussex’s trajectory since he left the Army, abandoning his Royal duties, which included his military roles. “I do feel disappointed,” he says. “I feel gutted he’s not at the head of the military as he used to be. I’m grateful to have met him and flown with him. I think he has done his bit for his country. We can never take that away from him. He’s done an Apache course. He’ll always be one of us.”

On Harry writing about his kills: Despite that, Jones says he was disappointed by Harry’s detailing in Spare that he had killed 25 Taliban fighters. “It’s not what we’re about,” says Jones, of the Duke’s putting a number on his kill count. “We’re not here to say, ‘I did this, I did that.’ It’s not a game. These are real people. They’ve got families. I wouldn’t have made any comment. I get a very uneasy feeling for anybody who says ‘I killed 10.’ It’s not what should be said, at all. But [Harry] did have a successful tour. It’s a shame he didn’t hang around to do more but I guess he ticked that box and scratched that itch and moved on. I would say he’s stepped backwards in a way, from the way he was to [how he is] now.”

[From The Telegraph]

I guess Steve Jones needs the money and he decided to not only write about training Harry, but promote the book using Harry’s name. The Telegraph’s whole piece with Jones was about Harry and Jones’s thoughts about him “abandoning royal duties.” It’s pathetic. “It’s a shame he didn’t hang around to do more but I guess he ticked that box and scratched that itch and moved on.” The press kept outing his tours, and Harry absolutely wanted to keep serving. He was basically blocked from doing so because he needed to become a “working royal” to cover for his brother. Harry also did not abandon his military patronages – they were taken away from him as punishment for the Oprah interview.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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