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Britain's Prince Harry Finishes Top in Class

This is an undated handout photo issued by Britain's Ministry of Defense of Prince Harry as he prepares his Apache helicopter to go out on a mission in El Centro, California, February 8, 2012.

Britain's Prince Harry has qualified to fly Apache attack helicopters in combat, finishing training as the best co-pilot gunner in his group.

British Defense Ministry officials said Wednesday, Prince Harry, who is known in the military as Captain Wales, was recognized as the top co-pilot gunner by members of his training group.

Prince Harry, the third in line to the British throne, trained for 18 months in Britain and in desert and mountain conditions in the United States.

The defense ministry says Prince Harry will now participate in exercises in Britain to gain more experience flying Apaches.

Prince Harry served a brief tour in Afghanistan in 2007 and has expressed aspirations to return. Defense officials have not confirmed any future deployment plans.

The prince's military career is in line with his older brother, Prince William, who serves as a search and rescue helicopter pilot in the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.