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Helicopter pilot Prince Andrew is flying anti-submarine patrols in...

LONDON -- Helicopter pilot Prince Andrew is flying anti-submarine patrols in the Falklands, Buckingham Palace said today, contradicting press reports that the second in line to the British throne is being kept away from the battle zone.

'Neither operational requirements, nor indeed, Prince Andrew, would tolerate him being singled out for special treatment,' a spokeswoman said.

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'He and his colleagues have had a very active month since military action began in the South Atlantic,' she said, rebutting reports that the 22-year-old prince was being kept out of danger during the battle to retake the Falklands, seized by Argentina April 2.

Because he is second in line to the throne, there have been reports that Andrew was being shielded against hazards faced by other servicemen.

Andrew, as a Royal Navy sub-lieutenant, flies Sea King helicopters on anti-submarine patrol, which involves dropping a sensitive sonar microphone into the rolling sea from a low-level hovering position. Sea Kings are also used on rescue missions and to ferry troops from ship to ship and ship to shore.

He graduated from Dartmouth Naval College in 1980 and won the prize as the best pilot in his class. He received his wings in April 1981 from his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.

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