When then-Maj. William Connor was deployed to Afghanistan with the S.C. National Guard's 218th Brigade Combat Team in 2007, little did he know who he might meet.
Sent to a forward operating base at Lashka Gah, the capital of the Helmend Province in Afghanistan, to work with the British Army fighting the Taliban, Connor met and worked with then-Lt. Harry Windsor — also known as Prince Henry of Wales or Prince Harry.
The prince's job was to call in airstrikes, hitting Taliban positions that were attacking the forward positions.
"I was impressed by the fact that he wanted to be treated like everyone else," Connor said. "He didn't need to go to the most dangerous places to serve.
"He is the real deal. He felt the obligation to serve, and that's very noble."
Connor said the British soldiers in Afghanistan were under orders not to reveal Harry's position. The prince already had been denied service as a tank commander in Iraq because of concerns that he or his unit would be targets for insurgents.
Harry became an air controller in order to deploy to Afghanistan and served there in late 2007 and early 2008, until Australian and German publications revealed he was in the country.
On Saturday, Harry is scheduled to wed American actress Meghan Markle at a ceremony at Windsor Castle. Connor has some advice for the soon-to-be newlywed.
"Marriage is a lifetime commitment," he says. "Become friends with her; keep your fun nature."
Life will change with children, and remember the commitment, he said.
Connor, now practicing law in Orangeburg and Columbia, believes that this is a good period in Harry's life to settle down. He says that if the prince, 33, takes the same values he exhibited during his military service into the marriage, he should find success.
"I wish him 'Best hopes.'"