Reading helicopter pilot's missions with Prince HarryBy Sarah Hamilton
January 28, 2013
Reading Apache pilot Sergeant James John relaxes between flying missions with Prince Harry, who returned to the UK last week after his four-month deployment in Afghanistan.
Sgt John, who served with Captain Wales in 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, said the high profile pilot was “just one of the guys” – as this picture of them getting hammered by His Royal Highness on the PlayStation shows.
The 27-year-old, who lives in Reading, flew helicopters with the prince in 662 Squadron.
He said: “Captain Wales is just another member of the squadron and another member of our flight, and we all work together the same as we would with anyone else that comes in and out of the crews.
“We were on the same Apache course in the training phase, so we’ve known each other now for about two-and-a-half years, and it’s nice to be on the same crew as him.
“We’re all quite close in the flight, which is nice.”
Sgt John, originally from Bridgend in South Wales, joined the Army at the age of 17. He signed up as a technician with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) but swapped for the cockpit after his first tour of Afghanistan.
He lives in Reading with his girlfriend Pam Blair, also 27, and said his family were chuffed he was serving with the third-in-line to the throne.
He said: “It’s just day-to-day for us really. There’s no real difference.
“I think my mum and dad are quite proud, to be honest.
“He’s part of the squadron and we see him more than anyone else, and that’s the way he likes to be treated when he’s in work essentially. So it’s good fun having him in the squadron.”
Sgt John trained for a number of years with REME before joining 9 Reg AAC in Dishforth to work with Apache, Lynx and Gazelle helicopters.
He applied to be a pilot during his first tour to Helmand province in 2006 and went straight on to the flying course on his return, spending a further four-and-a-half years in training.