From the daily archives: Thursday, October 6, 2011

By Jim Predmore

The City of El Centro is a buzz with anticipation of the arrival of Prince Harry of Wales. The Prince will be taking extensive training for piloting the Apache Combat Helicopter in what is being called Exercise Crimson Eagle.

The heir to the British throne or Capt. Harry Wales, to his mates, is coming to the El Centro NAF this week to begin a two-month series of training, in what is being called Exercise Crimson Eagle, an exercise for British attack helicopter pilots. Prince Harry, along with 20 other Brits, will get the chance for the first time to utilize the Apache in actual weapons deployment. The Prince will be here in the United States for 2 months. The first month will be spent at the NAF Base in El Centro, then he will be off to Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field in southern Arizona.

The Commanding Officer of the NAF El Centro, Captain Devon Jones stated “We are pleased to be host to the British attack helicopter pilots and welcome the Prince.” When asked if the Prince would be receiving any special treatment, Captain Jones stated “We are treating him like any other O3 (junior grade officer),” He also stated the NAF El Centro has had a twenty year working relationship with the British Air Force and looks forward to maintaining that relationship.

The Director of Exercise Crimson Eagle, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Bullen, described the exercise as crucial in the training of their pilots and stated “When these pilots complete this training they will be limited combat ready. They will go back to England to finish training and be completely combat ready.” When asked about the rumor of Prince Harry making a trip to Las Vegas the Colonel stated ” This is going to be an extensive training exercise and will take up most of their time, but there will be some down time, maybe a few hours or a couple of days. If the Prince decides to go to Las Vegas, it’s totally up to him, whatever floats your boat.” When asked how he is enjoying Southern California the Colonel states, “I will in a couple of days, when we can really get into the training, it’s has been a little too windy over the last few days. I am glad that the temperature has cooled down, I here that it was 104 last week, that’s a little hot for someone from Britain.” We gave him a good welcome to the Imperial Valley and he said a heart felt thanks.

The Public Affairs Officer NAF El Centro, Michelle Dee, asked that the public would treat the Prince and the rest of the British team with respect if they were to run into them while they were off duty.


It is fall and but have you fallen? Need help and can’t get up? Want to have a Merry Christmas? If you are a man, a new Men’s Support Group is being offered by the Son-Shine Counseling Center (SSCC). It will begin in October when there are 10 men signed up. It will be facilitated by Jim Shinn, clinical social worker, who has over 25 years experience in leading group counseling activities. The program will be 8 sessions at a cost of $20 per session. If a pastor or agency person writes a letter for an interested man, the cost can be free.

The group will help men cope with life’s struggles. The facilitator will focus on issues that will help the specific needs of the members. Mr. Shinn has successfully coped with a variety of life challenges: addiction, divorce, un/underemployment, and the deaths of many friends and both parents. A theme of many of the sessions will be emotional and anger management.

Men are encouraged to come check out the first session which may begin as early as Tuesday, October 11 at 7:00 pm. The SSCC is located at 1073 Ross Avenue, #C in El Centro, next to the Bucklin Park. Wives, girlfriends and parents are encouraged to call to get information on strategies to get their loved ones signed up.

Mr. Shinn guarantees that the group will help men feel better, improve family relationships and possibly help members find new employment. Men will only be allowed to enter the group during the first two sessions. For more information, call 353-5059 or email Mr. Shinn at If you want information about the SSCC, please see their website at

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