By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
U.S. Army Res. Lt. Col. Bill Connor – a S.C.-based attorney – was recently interviewed for a BBC television documentary about Prince Harry’s wartime service in the British Army, which – for a short stint – led Harry to a remote British outpost in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It was there the young British cornet (second lieutenant) and third-in-line to the throne met Connor who recalls visiting the outpost on Christmas Eve 2007.
“That was a British outpost with a company of Gurkhas,” says Connor, then the senior U.S. military advisor in Helmand Province. “Harry was there serving as forward air controller [calling and directing close-air and artillery support for friendly ground forces in the region].” This was prior to Harry’s becoming a helicopter pilot.
Recently, the BBC dispatched a reporter to the U.S. who met with Connor on Dec. 31, 2012 on the grounds of Connor’s alma mater The Citadel in Charleston, S.C..
The subsequent documentary, Prince Harry Frontline, which has since aired on British television, features multiple excerpts from the interview with Connor, who says, “Helmand was by far the most dangerous province in Afghanistan at that time.”
Connor describes how enemy lines were only 600-700 meters distant. “We had estimates of a few hundred Taliban out in front of us,” he says.
A reality echoed by the documentary narrator who adds, “This was an environment few modern royals have ever experienced.”
According to Connor, “[Harry] decided to put his life on the line, go to the most austere part of Afghanistan – not as a press stunt, but because it was where he wanted to be – and lead by example.”
(Connor’s interview starts at 8:40)
Connor – a combat infantry officer and Ranger (Airborne), is a former candidate for S.C. Lieutenant Governor (making the runoff election in the Republican primary). He is a former national security advisor for presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the current GOP chairman for S.C.’s sixth district, director of the Army’s Command and General Staff College (ILE) in S.C., and a member of the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team. Last year, he jointly established National Defense Consultants, LLC, a partnership providing clients with military analysis ranging from geostrategy to special operations; counterterrorism; ground, Naval, and air combat; military leadership and military law.
– Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at uswriter.com.