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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prince Harry Hopes to Return to Combat

LONDON -- Prince Harry, home from his abandoned military mission to Afghanistan, says he hopes to return to combat zones as soon as possible.

The soldier prince was met by his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, as he landed at an air force base in England on Saturday after serving as a soldier for 10 weeks in the volatile Helmand province.

Harry's secret tour of duty -- due to last until April -- abruptly ended after a magazine and web sites disclosed details of his whereabouts.

The prince's mission had previously gone unreported as part of an agreement between the Defense Ministry and major news organizations designed to protect the 23-year-old prince and his fellow soldiers.

"'Angry' would be the wrong word to use, but I am slightly disappointed. I thought I could see it through to the end and come back with our guys," Harry said after landing in Britain.

He said he hoped to return to Afghanistan soon and has already asked his commanding officer to approve a new mission.

"I would love to go back out, and I've already mentioned it to him that I want to go out very, very soon," Harry said.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the head of Britain's armed forces, said Sunday that any future deployment would depend on whether Harry poses a risk to his colleagues.

"I would have to be clear that the risks to the operation, in the widest sense of the people deployed on that operation, would be no higher than they would normally be," Stirrup told Britain's Sky News television.

Harry -- a cornet, or second lieutenant -- said he hoped for future agreements between the military and the media not to report on his deployments to help him pursue a full army career.

But General Richard Dannatt, head of Britain's army, said there was no immediate prospect of the prince returning to a front line for 12 to 18 months.

"Actually, the immediate prospect of Prince Harry going anywhere else is some way off in the future," he said, explaining that the prince has a usual rest period and then a number of training and regimental commitments.

But Harry's elder brother, William -- second in line to the British throne -- is likely to serve overseas with the military, probably on board a Royal Navy warship, the Defense Ministry said.

Officials said William could be deployed later this year on a tour to areas such as the South Atlantic, the Persian Gulf, the Pacific Ocean or the West Indies.

"It's our intention to give Prince William as full a taste of life in the Royal Navy as possible," a Navy spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity in line with policy.

William has trained as a fighter pilot and is eager to serve overseas, Harry said.

"I know he'd love to, whether it's on the ground or whether it's 15,000 feet up, bombs strapped to the wings," he said during an interview last week in Afghanistan.

Harry's work in southern Afghanistan involved calling in airstrikes on Taliban positions, as well as foot and tank patrols. He spent part of his deployment at a base 500 meters from Taliban positions.

He said he was realistic about the consequences of fighting against the Taliban.

"You do what you have to do, what's necessary to save your own guys," he said. "If you need to drop a bomb, worst case scenario then you will, but then that's just the way it is."

Many of Harry and William's family have also seen combat -- most recently their uncle, Prince Andrew, who flew Royal Navy helicopters during the 1982 Falklands War. Their grandfather, Prince Philip, served on Royal Navy battleships during World War II.