In this handout image provided by the Ministry of Defence, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and his crew prepare for their first sortie of a six week deployment on February 4, 2012 in the Mount Pleasant Complex, Falkland Islands. Operating the Sea King Mk3 as part of 1564 Flight, their duties as part of the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue team include assistance to the vast array of shipping around the islands and mountain rescue, in addition to providing cover for the aviation assets based on the island. Flt Lt Wales is a fully qualified SAR helicopter pilot and this is his first overseas operational deployment. (Sgt Andy Malthouse/MoD via Getty Images)
Britain’s Prince William arrived for his first mission as a search-and-rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force over the Falkland Islands on Saturday, according to media in the U.K.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said his deployment to the southern Atlantic islands is “entirely routine,” reported the BBC. The mission comes amid renewed tensions between the U.K. and Argentina over the Falklands—the island chain around 300 miles east of South America held by Britain since 1833. Argentina invaded the islands in 1982, sparking a brief but bloody war between the two nations.
The prince has been deployed there as the 30th anniversary of the conflict nears and there will be events to commemorate the event, Hague said.
“[The events] are not so much celebrations as commemorations. I think Argentina will also be holding commemorations of those who died in the conflict,” Hague said, adding that because of this, there was nothing provocative about the British move.
Miles Bartlett, the leader of Prince William’s squadron in the region, said the experience the prince will get as a search-and-rescue pilot “is second to none,” reported the Daily Mail newspaper. The weather in the Falklands is unpredictable and many people live in remote and rugged areas.