Prince Harry hits all targets at JDF shooting rangeThursday, March 08, 2012
BY INGRID BROWN Observer senior reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
THE sharp shooting skills of Prince Henry of Wales (always known as Prince Harry) was as much on point as the joke he fired at a group of photographers jostling each other to capture his performance on a range at Up Park Camp in Kingston yesterday.
These two traits were aptly demonstrated yesterday as the 27-year-old royalty impressed Jamaican soldiers with his sharp shooting skills during an exercise at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) military base.
As Prince Harry walked on to the 30-metre range for the live firearm practice, he joked with media workers standing at the other end of the targets, jostling to get the best vantage point to capture the moment.
"Anyone with a camera want to stand (at) the other end," he joked with the group which was being kept at bay by the security detail.
Joking aside, Prince Harry, who is a captain in the British Army Air Corps and holds two honorary military appointments in the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, amazed the gathering with his sharp shooting skills as he crouched in the dirt with a M4 rifle.
Attired in military fatigue, a body armour, helmet, protective goggles, and knee and elbow pads, Prince Harry crouched behind wooden screens and fired 16 live rounds at the simulated targets, hitting them dead centre.
The Prince later autographed the targets 'Harry Capt Wales' for the soldiers.
Prior to this exercise, the Prince commissioned a Rappel and Fast Rope Tower and unveiled a plaque mounted at the structure's entrance in honour of his visit. The 60-foot tower was built with technical co-operation from the Government of Canada.
Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Stephen Hallihan, said the tower was more than just another piece of training infrastructure but was a symbol of "the incredible relationship that exists between Canada and Jamaica in the defensive security sector".
Chief of Defence Staff Major General Antony Anderson said he considered it a privilege for Prince Harry to open the tower that will facilitate soldiers further honing their skills.
The Prince's visit to Up Park Camp was, however, overshadowed by the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Prince Harry was scheduled to partake in a rappelling exercise, but decided against participating due to the tragic death of the soldiers, opting instead to watch as several soldiers carried out the exercise.
According to press secretary to Their Royal Highness The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales, Miguel Head, the Prince "does not wish to take part in a military activity, which would be deemed peripheral to an Apache pilot, on this day when the focus for the British army should be on its core professional roles and of looking after the bereaved of those tragically killed".
Following the military exercises, Prince Harry was transported to the JDF Air Wing where his co-pilot on the helicopter trip to Falmouth, Lieutenant Colonel Jeoffery Roper was awaiting his arrival.
Roper who has flown several dignitaries to Jamaica, including Prince Harry's father, Prince Charles across the country told the Observer that his training over the years had prepared him for such missions.
"Today the plan is for him to pilot the helicopter and I will sit beside him," Roper said, when his reaction was sought on his involvement in this major task. According to 27-year army veteran, the United Kingdom or the Buckingham Palace did not have anything to do with the decision as to who would have been chosen to co-pilot the Prince to the other end of the island.
After posing for a picture with senior police and military personnel the prince strolled briskly to the helicopter where he was assisted aboard the chopper for the journey to the William Knibb Memorial High School. The trip to Trelawny included a guided tour of the Falmouth Pier and other sections of the parish, in the company of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Lady Allen. He was later expected to be hosted at a Jamaica night reception and show at Sandals Cay in Montego Bay.
Prince Harry -- the younger grandson of Queen Elizabeth II -- participated in a raft of scheduled activities since arriving in the island on Monday for a four-day visit, in commemoration of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee -- her 60th year since accession to the throne.
He is scheduled to depart Jamaica from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay today.
Photos: Prince Harry at JDF
Photo Gallery: View highlights from Prince Harry's visit here
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