Dressed in Army Air Corps fatigues and desert boots, Prince Harry met
America’s “wounded warriors” at a military rehabilitation centre on day two of
his US tour.
By Gordon Rayner, in
9:01PM BST 11 May 2013
“We’ve got nothing like this back in the UK,” he said, marvelling at the
state-of-the-art equipment put at the disposal of the most severely wounded
troops. “You guys, as Americans, are used to the technology — we are always
Instantly at ease among the injured soldiers, he showed an empathy that will
have endeared him further to America.
If day one of this tour was about the young women flocking to catch a glimpse
of “Britain’s most eligible bachelor”, then this visit demonstrated Prince
Harry’s ability to relate to ordinary soldiers.
Prince Harry, who has twice been deployed in Afghanistan, showed warmth
towards his US comrades as he toured the Walter Reed National Military Medical
Center in Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington, DC.
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He talked to them about their injuries and treatment, and encouraged them on
their long road to rehabilitation.
Army Specialist Corey Garmon, who lost both legs in a bomb blast in
Afghanistan in July, was encouraged by the Prince during his first session in an
custom-built lab to help amputees walk again.
The custom-built lab to help amputees
walk again (Getty Images)
In front of Spc Garmon was a wraparound screen with a path complete with
hills, fields and trees displayed on it. Spc Garmon occupied a spot in front of
the screen on a treadmill and stood in a harness. It was his first time on the
machine and Prince Harry cheered his every step.
“You’ve obviously been doing it for hours,” Harry said as he walked into the
room, before asking: “How long have you been on this?”
To which the soldier replied: “This is my first day.”
Prince Harry was introduced to Staff Sergeant Tim Payne, 30, who lost both
legs while on patrol in Kandahar in 2011. “The care they have given us here is
fantastic,” Ssg Payne told the Prince. “You really can’t beat it, anywhere.” He
is a keen swimmer who uses the pool at the centre for rehabilitation, swimming
two and a half miles a day.
He told the Prince he had set himself a challenge of one day swimming the
English Channel. “He said I’m crazy,” said Ssg Payne.
Prince Harry speaks with wounded
soldiers undergoing physical therapy (Getty Images)
Rear-Adml Alton Stocks, who is in charge of the centre, said: “He was very
interested in our technology and how we can work together in the future.
“But the thing he was the most interested in was meeting with the warriors
and the families. He has deployed himself, so he feels that bond, and that was
From Maryland, Prince Harry, 28, flew by private jet to Colorado where he met
a different kind of all-American hero, Missy Franklin, the golden girl of the
all-conquering 2012 Olympics US swimming team.
Franklin won four gold medals and a bronze, but seemed every bit as excited
about meeting the Prince on her 18th birthday.
She said: “I love the Royal family. All my friends can’t believe how lucky I
am to be here. I think everyone just has so much respect for Prince Harry. My
London gold is now my favourite medal because he touched it.”
The Prince met the athletes at a reception at The Sanctuary golf club in
Douglas County, near Denver, ahead of a visit to the Warrior Games for injured
service personnel in Colorado Springs.
The Prince also chatted to guests about how much he enjoyed visiting Colorado
with his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, as a child.
She took him and William skiing in Aspen twice, and Harry told guests he
particularly enjoyed going white water rafting.
He spent nearly two hours chatting with guests and showed particular interest
in talking about wind farms.
Harry talks with a US Army Soldier who has lost both legs (PA)
Despite their offshore presence being a lucrative source of potential income
for his grandmother, the Queen, who owns most of the sea bed around the UK,
Harry expressed concerns that wind farms could look unsightly.
“Prince Harry said he was worried about their visual impact,” said Susan
Reilly, the chief executive of Renewable Energy Systems, a British company whose
US operation is based in the state.
“I told him that I had met his father some years ago and when we discussed
wind farms, he shared his concerns.
“But, as with Prince Charles, I pointed out that we need to strike a balance
between their visual impact and the need for renewable energy for future
Prince Harry plays sitting volleyball
with British soldiers as he competes in the Warrior Games
The Queen derives the funding for her official duties from the profits of the
Crown Estate, which are expected to increase thanks to the future development of
offshore wind farms.
Col Roger Lewis, a British military liaison officer based in Colorado,
praised the Prince for putting the armed forces at the centre of his tour.
“He is giving a focus to the Warrior Games that only a veteran can,” said Col
Lewis. “Harry knows how to talk to soldiers and they love him for it.”
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Harry might be a bit of a lad but . like his Brother , is a great Ambassador for Britain and have their Mother's compassion .
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