Prince Harry yesterday scaled down a military exercise in Jamaica out of respect for the families of servicemen killed in the worst land attack the British Army has ever suffered in Afghanistan.If I read the story right, the news is that Harry was due to do some rappelling as part of a training exercise but he changed his mind, "out of respect for the families of servicemen killed in the worst land attack the British Army has ever suffered in Afghanistan". How does not going through with a PT exercise show respect to your fallen comrades? I'm not calling him a coward, but I fail to see how not doing a basic task is "honoring" in any sense of the word.
The prince, who recently qualified as an Apache attack helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps and hopes to be deployed to the front line himself later this year, had been due to abseil down a rappel tower with the Jamaican Defence Force at Up Park Camp, Kingston.
A sombre looking Harry, 27, did, however, take part in a live firing exercise during his visit - and more than proved his metal - although the engagement had a very different feel to the more lively events of recent days.
It should be noted that the paper went into great detail about the princes shooting skills. I note that the distance was 25 meters but they kept harping on the fact that the gun could shoot 300 meters. Why, its not important in the least and it tells you nothing about the prince's shooting. The article showed his targets and reported that his score was almost perfect.
What they didn't report was the difficulty of the task or the parameters of the exercise. For a bit of perspective, 25 meter targets are common for shooting tactical situations. The reason is that most shooting for blood against human targets occurs from 7 to 25 yards. Using 25 yard targets is standard. In most shooting exercises I've participated in or supervised over the years, there is a time element. If you have 10 seconds to get off all 8 shots and you score as Harry did, you've done very well. If you have 2 min to get off the shots, you've done poorly.
The story tells us two things, Harry didn't go rappelling and Harry shot a gun. As is very common in the press when reporting on firearms, nothing of importance was related because they have no idea what they are talking about. This is a frustration of mine. I suppose the British press should get off lightly for not having a clue about this topic, but I find it is common in the American press as well. What really sets me off though, is when I encounter this type of foolishness by gun industry writers. For an example, please see every product review I've read in Guns and Ammo for the last 25 years.
As for Harry, if the paper wanted to do something cool, they should have taken pictures of him blowing stuff up with his Apache.