Soldier recalls serving with prince in Afghanistan - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Soldier recalls serving with prince in Afghanistan

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Lt. Col. Bill Connor with Prince Harry in Afghanistan (Source: Lt. Col. Bill Connor) Lt. Col. Bill Connor with Prince Harry in Afghanistan (Source: Lt. Col. Bill Connor)

On Christmas Eve in 2007,  Lt. Col. Bill Connor of Orangeburg was in one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan when a special soldier arrived.

"Here he was from probably the most elite family in Great Britain, the United Kingdom. He not only served, he didn't check the block by going to a big base, he went down range to get shot at and shoot at the Taliban and do the things you're supposed to," he said. "He's the real deal."

Connor is talking about Prince Harry of Wales.

"I was amazed at how humble he was in the sense of he truly didn't look like he expected any sort of privileges of being a prince."

The two worked out together, ate together and served together.  Connor said he never saw an arrogant attitude in the then 23-year-old junior officer.

"I detected no sense of 'oh boy why am I down here?'" said Connor. "It was all, 'I'm glad to be here. I'm glad to do my job and I'll take the risks that go with it.'"

Prince Harry or Lt. Harry Wales was responsible for coordinating air strikes and artillery for his men and at times, was in the midst of Taliban fire.

"I detected no fear," said Connor. "No cowardice."

Known in the press and tabloids for sometimes being hotheaded and wild, Connor said the Prince was anything but in the field.

"You can tell regardless of whether someone is a VIP or not, if they're respected," said Connor. "My impression was he is respected, because as I said, he did his job. He was glad to be there. And seemed to want to get away from press, paparazzi and be Lt. Harry."

And that was something the Prince wanted.

"Hopefully most people will look at me and go, 'It's great to have him on board wearing the same uniform and doing the same job as us,'" said Prince Harry during his most recent deployment in late 2012.

Royalty or not,  Connor said he was proud to serve with just one of many brave soldiers.

"He could have easily stayed home," said Connor. "He could have gone there, checked the block.  But he really went down range and sacrificed and took risks so he deserves that credit."

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