WEST POINT, N.Y. – WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Prince Harry showed he knows his way around a rifle as he joined cadets in training at the storied military grounds Friday at the start of his three-day visit to New York.
Harry, third in line to the British throne, arrived by helicopter just after 1:30 p.m., uniformed in camouflage. He hopped on the back of a Humvee, swapped his light blue beret for a helmet and headed out for live-fire exercises on the firing range and field exercises in nearby woods.
Harry, who served in Afghanistan in 2008, fired an M4 rifle along with a team of West Point cadets involved in a firing range training exercise. He and the cadets shot at pop-up silhouette targets anywhere from 50 to 300 meters away.
Crouched in the gravel and then later lying down, Harry had to hit the "enemy" targets but refrain from shooting at the yellow-banded "friendlies." Col. Casey Haskins said he did quite well, hitting multiple targets.
"He clearly knows what he's doing," Haskins said. "He clearly knows how to shoot. He clearly knows how to move."
Prince Harry later shadowed a group of cadets through heavy woods in a combat exercise but did not participate.
He was met upon his arrival at West Point by Superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin L. "Buster" Hagenbeck and others. Cadets presented Harry with a ceremonial saber before he flew back to New York City a few hours later.
The prince changed into a dark suit for a reception for British and American veterans and their families at the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum.
Harry said it was "a bit of a 'pinch yourself' moment" to stand on the flight deck of the Intrepid, a historic aircraft carrier docked on Manhattan's West Side.
He said that American and British forces "have fought shoulder to shoulder for a hundred years to safeguard the ideals and values our countries share."
But Harry said the two countries must forge stronger links between their military veterans.
"We in Britain can learn from the American culture of charity, and from the great pioneering work in the fields of care, prosthetics and rehabilitation of your universities, hospitals and other organizations," he said. "In turn, I hope we can offer some inspiring examples of our own."
Harry attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and is a lieutenant in the British Army. His service in Afghanistan as a battlefield air controller continued until a media leak cut his time short.
He has made no secret of his desire to return to the front lines, and the decision last month by British Army commanders to train him as an Apache attack helicopter pilot could make that more likely.
Harry did not speak to roughly three dozen British and U.S. reporters following him at West Point. But cadets said he talked to them about his experience in Afghanistan and the differences between the academy and Sandhurst.
"He seems like a really down-to-earth guy," said Cadet Kristen Griest of Orange, Conn.
Harry will throw out a first pitch at a Mets baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday and take part in a UNICEF event.
On Sunday, he will walk with wounded veterans participating in a road race through Central Park. He also plans to participate in the third annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic that day on Governors Island in New York Harbor.
The polo event will benefit American Friends of Sentebale, the U.S. arm of the global charity co-founded by Harry that supports impoverished children of Lesotho in southern Africa. He's holding a reception for the event Saturday evening in Greenwich, Conn.
Harry is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Associated Press writer Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this report.