10/06/2011 at 01:00 PM EDT
America is about to get another royal visit. This one, however, will have no pomp and will be conducted under considerably different circumstances.
arrives in California this week for two months' training
for British military helicopter pilots.
Capt. Harry Wales, 27, and other Apache crews will train first at the Naval Air Facility El Centro east of San Diego, then go to Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field in southern Arizona.
Unlike the visit
of his brother Prince William
and sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge
, this trip is purely for military purposes.
"We will treat him as we do all our British personnel. Our base is accommodating to all of them," U.S. Capt. Devon Jones, commanding officer of the El Centro facility, said Thursday. "He is welcome to all the facilities. He'll be under the syllabus designed for him and I'm sure he'll have plenty to do."
Of course, Las Vegas sits roughly in between the two facilities – and military fliers have been known to unwind in Sin City during leave.
"If they want to fund it themselves and that's what floats their boat, then yea, they can go to Las Vegas," says British Lt Col Peter Bullen, exercise director of the training session. "If he wants to do that, it's completely up to him."
The training takes place on terrain similar to that in Afghanistan, where Harry served in 2008 as a forward air controller in charge of insuring the accuracy of air strikes. He reportedly intends to return to Afghanistan next year after he completes flying training.