Prince Harry may have a reputation as a hard-partying playboy, but the British royal is actually a skilled military pilot who's currently a gunner on the front lines in war-torn Afghanistan.
Speaking to reporters in a series of pre-taped interviews, Prince Harry discussed his love of flying, his grueling military training, and food in the barracks. "Yes, you get shot at," Prince Harry replied when asked whether he has ever been fired on. "No one knows who's in the cockpit.
"If the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, then I don't think there's anything wrong with us being shot at as well. And people back home will have issues with that, but we're not special. It's as simple as that."
Harry, 28, qualified to fly the Apache combat helicopter in 2011 after undergoing more than eight months of rigorous training.
The Apache is a highly maneuverable, heavily armed battlefield helicopter that is the U.S. Army’s primary attack helicopter. Only 3% of army pilots qualify to fly them.
The athletic 6-foot-2 prince, who has been an army officer since 2006, is a captain in the British Army. Harry previously spent 10 weeks in Afghanistan in 2007-2008. He continues a long tradition of British royal military service.
"Our father flew, uncle's flown," he says. "All sorts of people have flown in my family. It's great fun. I was given the opportunity in the end and I couldn't say no to it."
Now serving as a pilot and gunner, Prince Harry says his primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of ground troops. He admits he has killed Afghan insurgents during his tour of duty, and would do it again to protect his comrades in arms.
"Our job out here is to make sure the guys are safe on the ground," he says. "If that means shooting at someone who's shooting at them, then we'll do it. Take a life to save a life. If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game, I suppose."
While he was raised with the finest foods in the most luxurious of environments, the rugged Prince Harry says he makes the most of his lackluster meals at base camp.
"Normally [for breakfast] it's Weetabix and toast, and then a pretty manky box of food comes out, and it's normally bacon, sausages, eggs and stuff like that," he says. "I think they put it in a box at about four o'clock in the morning and let it sweat for a few hours."
When asked about his infamous nude-photo scandal, Prince Harry admits he let himself and his family down. "At the end of the day I probably let myself down," he says. "I let my family down. I let other people down. But at the end of the day I was in a private area and there should have been a certain amount of privacy that one should expect."
Harry was more enthusiastic speaking about becoming an uncle for the first time. Harry's sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, is pregnant with Prince William's baby. “I’m thrilled for both of them,” said Harry. “It’s about time. I can’t wait to be an uncle.
“I literally am very very happy for them, but I hope she and him, mainly Catherine, gets the necessary protection to allow her as a mother, to be able to enjoy the privacy.”
[Prince Harry has returned to the U.K. after completing his tour of duty.]