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Prince Harry displays aim on battlefield, ballfield

SUNDAY, JUNE 27, 2010

Royal trains at West Point, tosses pitch at Mets game

NEW YORK – Britain’s Prince Harry showed he can shoot. On the second day of his U.S. visit, New Yorkers got to see his arm.

After firing an M4 rifle during a training exercise Friday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Harry threw out the first pitch at Saturday’s New York Mets game against the Minnesota Twins.

Wearing a white T-shirt and blue Mets cap, he sheepishly waved to the crowd as he stood on the top of the mound. He then shook his right arm several times and did a full body jiggle to loosen up.

The 25-year-old prince threw with some zip to Mets catcher Rod Barajas, who stood from his crouch to catch the throw that crossed the plate.

Earlier Saturday, he visited UNICEF, where staff members briefed him on the U.N. agency’s use of mapping technology to respond to crises such as the earthquake in Haiti.

The prince, the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, began his three-day visit Friday at West Point to look for ways British and U.S. veterans charities can work together to support wounded troops returning home.

Harry, third in line to the British throne, arrived by helicopter uniformed in camouflage. He hopped on the back of a Humvee, swapped his light blue beret for a helmet, and headed out for live-fire exercises on the firing range and field exercises in nearby woods.

Harry fired an M4 along with a team of West Point cadets involved in a firing range training exercise. He and the cadets shot at pop-up silhouette targets anywhere from 50 to 300 meters away.

Crouched in the gravel and then later lying down, Harry had to hit the enemy targets but refrain from shooting at the yellow-banded friendlies. Col. Casey Haskins said he did quite well, hitting multiple targets.

Harry attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and is a lieutenant in the British army. He served in Afghanistan in 2008 as a battlefield air controller until a media leak cut his time short.

He has made no secret of his desire to return to the front lines, and the decision last month by British army commanders to train him as an Apache attack helicopter pilot could make that more likely.

After Saturday’s baseball game, Harry attended a country club reception in Greenwich, Conn., to promote his charity, Sentebale, which provides support to orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho, an impoverished African nation whose inhabitants have one of the shortest average life expectancies in the world.

“With my love of children and Africa, Lesotho stood out as a country in desperate need of attention, help and commitment,” he said.

His cousin, Princess Beatrice, also attended the event.

Today, Harry is expected to walk with wounded veterans participating in a road race through Central Park. He also plans to participate in the third annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Governors Island, in New York Harbor.

The polo event will benefit American Friends of Sentebale, the U.S. arm of the global charity co-founded by Harry.


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