It is not every day you have the opportunity to shake the hand of Prince Harry.
Or be petted by him.
But that is exactly what Squadron Leader Danny Jeffery, from Williamtown RAAF Base, and retired military working dog Victory experienced last week when the royal was in Australia for the Invictus Games launch.
The Air Force Squadron Leader, who has taken part in two Invictus Games and is awaiting selection for the 2017 event, attended the launch in Sydney last Wednesday, June 7.
The launch was attended by Prince Harry, who established the Games in 2014.
“I got to meet Harry,” Squadron Leader Jeffery, from Coal Point, said.
“He remembered me from last year. He’s so down to earth. We just chatted.
“I was lucky. I had a fair bit of one-on-one time with him. He asked me how my rehab is going, my transition through the Invictus Games and what I'm looking forward to.”
The Invictus Games is a parasport event for wounded, injured or sick veterans as well as active armed services personnel.
The 2017 Invictus Games will be held in Toronto, Canada in September.
Australia will send 43 athletes to the Games. The Minister for Defence, Marise Payne, is expected to announce the 2017 Games roster on June 20.
Victory and her handler, Corporal Nathan Beck, also attended the Games launch.
The retired military dog, a nine-year-old female all-black German Shepherd, is an ambassador for the games.
“She’s the first canine ambassador,” Cpl Beck, from Corlette, said.
“They were looking for a working dog or ex-working dog to be an ambassador this year. It is fitting she was selected, she has served overseas.”
Victory and Cpl Beck, who graduated training school together in 2010, were deployed to Timor-Leste for seven months in 2012.
Cpl Beck said Victory met Prince Harry during the launch last Wednesday as well as the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“All gave her a pat,” the Corporal said.
“She was also available for the veterans to pat. There were plenty of people feeding her, too.”
Following the June 7 launch, Cpl Beck and Victory travelled to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
There, Victory received a Canine Operational Service Medal.
The medal recognises the contribution military working dogs make in overseas operations.
Since 1999, dogs that have served Australian on operations for 30 days are eligible for the medal.