Prince Harry Heading to United States for Helicopter Training
updated 10/06/2011 AT 01:00 PM EDT
•originally published 10/06/2011 AT 02:45 PM EDT
Prince Harry 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.