Prince Harry reveals how Afghanistan mission changed his life


Prince Harry Tells How the Army Changed His Life

Prince Harry has spoke of the profound effect fighting in Afghanistan had on his life as he met injured US military veterans undergoing rehab with Michelle Obama.

Speaking at an American military base where the service personnel were receiving care he told the veterans, their families and the US first lady that his two tours of Afghanistan had "changed the direction" of his existence.

Before speaking he had toured Fort Belvoir in Virginia, with Mrs Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of vice-president Joe Biden, visiting an art therapy room for veterans, another facility using music to help with their rehab, and watched a wheelchair basketball game.

The prince is making a one-day visit to the US to highlight his Invictus Games and support the care offered to injured American service personnel.

Harry said: "I am in no doubt that my two deployments to Afghanistan changed the direction of my life.

"There is very little that can truly prepare you for the reality of war. The experiences can be stark and long lasting.

"Returning to the UK after my first deployment, I shared the flight home with three critically injured British soldiers, all in induced comas, and the body of a Danish soldier, killed in action.

"It hit me then that this flight was one of many, carrying home men and women whose lives would be changed forever, and some who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

"From that moment, I knew I had a responsibility to help all veterans, who had made huge personal sacrifices for their countries, to lead healthy and dignified lives after service."

The prince's upcoming Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style championship for injured military personnel from across the globe, will be staged in Orlando, Florida, in 2016.

Mrs Biden visited the UK in 2014 and saw athletes competing in the inaugural Invictus Games.

She and Mrs Obama are keen supporters of forces' families in the US and in 2011 launched Joining Forces, an initiative that called on Americans to rally round veterans and provide education and employment opportunities for them.