Prince Harry visits RAF Honington

Prince Harry today chatted to armed forces comrades about 'nightmares' remembering how to use all his kit when on tour in Afghanistan.

The 27-year-old Captain with the Army Air Corps also spoke to servicemen and women about the fast food joints in Camp Bastion.

Dressed in comfortable combat fatigues he shared stories with the troops based at RAF Honington in Suffolk.

Corporal Robert Owen talked to the Prince about communications equipment the royal used on his 10-week tour in the country as a forward air controller in 2007-08.

Harry was familiar with the Bowman Radio System from when he directed jets dropping bombs on Taliban positions in Helmand province.

Cpl Owen, 29, from Shropshire said: 'He was saying, because there's a lot of kit nowadays, you've got to remember so much.

'He said it was bringing back nightmares about all the stuff you have got to remember.'

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Harry, who was appointed Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington in October 2008, arrived at the snow-blanketed base wearing his sky blue Army Air Corps beret.

When he was being shown the equipment the RAF servicemen and women use in Afghanistan he looked relaxed as he remembered his time in the country.

The royal, who is known as Captain Wales in the Army, looked at military kit including a quad bike, sniper rifles, camouflage, tanks, machine guns and mortars.

Senior Aircraftman Josh Brown from 15 Squadron Air Force Regiment said: 'He's just an average sort of bloke when you meet him.

'He was talking to us about his tour in Afghanistan and Camp Bastion and what the kit was like in camp.'

The 22-year-old from Cambridge showed the Prince the 81mm mortars the troops use in the war-torn country.

'We were talking about the fast food you can get in Camp Bastion. You can get pizzas and burgers and KFC.'

Harry this week qualified as an Apache helicopter pilot and scooped a prize for his shooting skills.

He was presented with the best co-pilot gunner award during a dinner on Wednesday night to mark the end of 18 months of rigorous training.

The Prince received his award - a polished 30mm round from an Apache cannon mounted on a stand - at the dinner held at Wattisham Air Station, a short drive from Honington, where he has been training.

Harry has suggested it would be pointless training as an Apache pilot if he was not deployed to fight, and his latest achievement could pave the way for another stint in Afghanistan.

During today's visit, the Prince was asked to present a number of awards to troops, base staff and the widow of an RAF Senior Aircraftman who died in Afghanistan.

Gary Thompson, from the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment, was in a Wolf Land Rover when it hit an anti-tank mine in April 2008.

Jacqui Thompson was given the Commandant General's Commendation for her fundraising work for the RAF Benevolent Fund and the National Memorial Arboretum.

After she met Harry, she said: 'I wanted to congratulate him for receiving his helicopter licence, but my nerves didn't let let me get that far.'

Mrs Thompson, 46, from Sherwood in Nottingham, has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for the families of servicemen and women, and she plans to do a wing-walk later this year.

She said: 'Knowing that in some way I'm helping the families, I can't tell you how much that makes me feel of use.

'It was absolutely wonderful to meet Prince Harry.'

RAF Honington is the air force's main centre of force protection and is the depot of the Royal Air Force Regiment - the ground fighting force of the RAF.

Harry last visited the base in July 2010, where he presented the families of two servicemen killed in Afghanistan with the Elizabeth Cross.

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