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William signs up for search & rescue

  |   Sept. 15, 2008 at 1:34 PM
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LONDON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Prince William wants to fly helicopters for Britain's Search and Rescue Force for the next five years or so, Clarence House has announced.

The announcement ends speculation the prince would end his military career next year to concentrate on being a full-time royal, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

Instead, he will go through 18 months of training, then serve on the air search-and-rescue team for a minimum of 30 months, the Telegraph said, adding the prince would be at least 31 years old before returning to civilian life.

"It has been a real privilege to have spent the past year understanding and experiencing all aspects of the British armed forces," Prince William said in a statement. "I now want to build on the experience and training I have received to serve operationally -- especially because, for good reasons, I was not able to deploy to Afghanistan this year with D Squadron of the Household Cavalry Regiment."

The prince said his time with the Royal Air Force made him realize how much he enjoys flying. Joining the search-and-rescue unit is a "perfect opportunity" for him to serve in the forces and contribute to a "vital part" of the country's emergency services, he said.

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