King Charles gives Prince William senior role with Army Air Corps

His Majesty the King is walked around the Apache AH-64E by members of the Army Air Corps. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024. MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

The King and The Prince of Wales carried out a rare joint engagement this week, which also marked their first joint engagement together since Charles acceded to the throne in September 2022.

The King has officially handed over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps (AAC) to The Prince of Wales at a ceremony and joint engagement held at the Army Aviation Centre and Army Flying Museum, Middle Wallop, in Hampshire.

In August 2023, following His Majesty’s Accession, The King announced a range of military appointments for working Members of the Royal Family, including that The Prince of Wales would become Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps. The role previously held by His Majesty the King, as The Prince of Wales, for 31 years.

The AAC is the combat aviation arm of the British Army. AAC Soldiers have been wearing the distinctive blue beret with pride since their formation in 1957. They use Army aircraft, such as the Apache AH-64E attack helicopter, to deliver hard-hitting and effective support to ground forces during the key stages of battle.

AAC soldiers deliver firepower from battlefield helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Their role also includes reconnaissance. From high above, they observe enemy forces and pass information to troops on the ground.

This combination of manoeuvrability and firepower makes the AAC one of the most potent of the Army’s combat arms.

During his visit, The King unveiled a plaque commemorating the arrival of the first Apache AH Mk.1 helicopter to be installed in a museum. He then took the short walk across the airfield to the Middle Wallop Control Tower where, in front of an Apache, he was met by his son to officially hand over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps.

Prince William then embarked on his first engagement with the AAC as Colonel-in-Chief, receiving a briefing on their current work from the Colonel Commandant, Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Borton. He then viewed training and operational aircraft being used and met aircrew and supporting ground staff.

The Prince of Wales has a strong affiliation with the Armed Forces, having served in the Army as a Platoon Commander in The Blues and Royals, before completing flying training in the Royal Air Force. His Royal Highness served as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot, spending three years at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales.

For the final part of his engagement, Prince William departed the base at Middle Wallop by embarking on an Apache capability flight to deepen his understanding of the state-of-the-art equipment and to learn more about the people that fly and support it.

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