March 18, 2012
March 16, 2012
The military on Friday identified the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers earlier this week as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, a 38-year-old father of two who had been injured twice in combat over the course of four deployments and had, his lawyer said, an exemplary military record.
The release of Sergeant Bales’s name, first reported by Fox News, ended an extraordinary six-day blackout of public information about him from the Pentagon, which said it withheld his identity for so long because of concerns about his and his family’s security.
An official said on Friday that Sergeant Bales had been transferred from Kuwait to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he had a cell to himself in the medium-security prison there. His wife and children were moved from their home in Lake Tapps, Wash., east of Tacoma, onto Joint Base Lewis-McChord, his home base, earlier this week.
Military officials say Sergeant Bales, who has yet to be formally charged, left his small combat outpost in the volatile Panjwai district of Kandahar Province early in the morning last Sunday, walked into two nearby villages and there shot or stabbed 16 people, 9 of them children.
Little more than the outlines of Sergeant Bales’s life are publicly known. His family lived in Lake Tapps, a community about 20 miles northeast of his Army post. NBC News reported that he was from Ohio, and he may have lived there until he joined the Army at 27. Sergeant Bales’s Seattle-based lawyer, John Henry Browne, said several members of the sergeant’s family moved to Washington after he was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Mr. Browne said the sergeant joined the Army right after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2011, and then spent almost all of his career at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he was part of the Third Stryker Brigade in the Second Infantry Division, named after the armored Stryker vehicles.
The killings have severely undermined longstanding NATO efforts to win support from villages in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, and have shaken relations with the government of President Hamid Karzai, who this week told Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who was on a visit to Afghanistan, that he wanted American forces out of villages by next year.
Pentagon officials, who have been scouring the sergeant’s military and health records for clues, have said little about what they think motivated the killings. But one senior government official said Thursday that Sergeant Bales had been drinking alcohol before the killings and that he might have had marital problems.
“When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues — he just snapped,” said the official, who had been briefed on the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the sergeant had not yet been charged.
Mr. Browne has disputed those assertions, telling reporters on Thursday that the sergeant’s marriage was sound and questioning reports about drinking. On the day before the shootings, he said, the sergeant had seen a fellow soldier lose his leg from a buried mine.
Mr. Browne, who said he had had a short conversation with Sergeant Bales because he was worried that their phone call was being monitored, added that the sergeant had thought he could avoid this deployment and was upset when he could not.
“The family was counting on him not being redeployed,” Mr. Browne said. “He and the family were told that his tours in the Middle East were over.”
He added, “I think that it would be fair to say that he and the family were not happy that he was going back.”
The Bales family lived in a two-story, wood-frame house beneath tall fir and cedar evergreens in Lake Tapps, an unincorporated section of Pierce County, Wash. Kassie Holland, a neighbor, said that as far as she could tell, they were a happy family and the sergeant was a devoted father to his young children, a daughter, Quincy, and a son, Bobby. “There were no signs,” Ms. Holland said when asked whether Mr. Bales seemed troubled.
The Baleses’ house had a lock box on the front door on Friday. Phillip Rodocker, a real estate agent, said that he was contacted by Ms. Bales on March 8, three days before the shooting in Afghanistan, and that she told him she wanted to sell the house in Lake Tapps.
“She told me she was behind in our payments,” Mr. Rodocker said. “She said he was on her fourth tour and it was getting kind of old and they needed to stabilize their finances.”
Mr. Rodocker said he and a colleague met with Ms. Bales at the house the next day. “It looked like it had been really, really neglected,” he said. “Four tours of duty and nobody around to take care of the exterior of the property.”
Because it took time for the paperwork to go through, the house was not officially put on the market until Monday, the day after the shooting. On Tuesday, Mr. Rodocker said, “She called and said needed to take the house off the market due to a family emergency.”
He said that the house remained on the market because he had not received a written request for it to be removed.
Zillow, the real estate Web site, shows the house listed for $229,000, about $50,000 less than the family paid for it in 2005. Mr. Rodocker said the house was going to be a short sale, meaning the Baleses owed more to the bank than what it would sell for.
Mr. Rodocker said Ms. Bales also asked his colleague to sell a second property, a house in Auburn, Wash., that he said she had bought before the Baleses were married.
Boxes were piled on the front porch at the house in Lake Tapps along with a snow sled, while toys, a barbecue grill and a weathered hot tub sat in the fenced backyard. Mr. Rodocker said Ms. Bales told him she was collecting boxes to prepare for a move.
Over the course of the decade, Sergeant Bales was deployed three times to Iraq, Army records show: between 2003 and 2004; for 15 months between June 2006 and September 2007, during the height of the civil war and at the beginning of what became known as the surge; and then between August 2009 and August 2010.
During his second tour, his unit, the Second Battalion, Third Infantry Regiment, was involved in a major battle in the city of Najaf while trying to recover a downed Apache helicopter.
On his third deployment, in 2010, a Humvee carrying Sergeant Bales flipped over, possibly because of a roadside bomb, Mr. Browne said. Sergeant Bales injured his head and probably sustained a minor traumatic brain injury, which in chronic cases can lead to cognitive problems, personality changes and a loss of impulse control. Mr. Browne said it was possible that Sergeant Bales also had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr. Browne also said the sergeant lost part of a foot in another episode, also apparently from an explosive device. It was not clear whether he might have sustained a second traumatic brain injury then.
Court records show that Sergeant Bales was charged with assault in 2002, but that the charge was dismissed. In 2008, he was charged with a hit-and-run involving a parked car, but that too was dropped, the records indicate.
Though the Army has said nothing about the case, investigators have been poring over Sergeant Bales’s evaluations, health records and computers in search of telltale information. But Mr. Browne said his client’s record was good and that he had been awarded a number of medals.
“He’s never said anything antagonistic about Muslims,” Mr. Browne said. “He’s in general been very mild-mannered.”
Joint Base Lewis-McChord has come under scrutiny because of a string of problems in recent years. In 2010, rogue soldiers from another Stryker brigade murdered three Afghan civilians during combat episodes staged by the soldiers. This year, the Army opened investigations into the base’s Madigan Army Medical Center after soldiers complained that diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder were being changed or dismissed.
Some advocates for active-duty troops and veterans say the problems demonstrate that the sprawling base, the Army’s largest on the West Coast, with nearly 40,000 soldiers, was not prepared to handle the strain of repeated deployments. Between 2009 and 2010, when Sergeant Bales was on his third deployment to Iraq, about 18,000 soldiers from the post were sent to war zones, and almost all returned at roughly the same time, overwhelming base services, the critics contend.
But on Friday, the general in charge of managing military bases said that the installation was not under an exceptional amount of strain from multiple deployments and was not seeing an unusual number of crimes or mental health issues, at least when compared with other bases.
“There’s nothing different here than most places,” said Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the commanding general of the United States Army Forces Command. “Again, those things happen. Everybody knows that doesn’t reflect our standards and our values.”
5:08 PM March 17, 2012
The U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians grew up in Greater Cincinnati, graduated from Norwood High School and has relatives living in the area.
Tools used by The Enquirer to perform background checks show Staff Sgt. Robert N. Bales, 38, grew up in the 4000 block of Ivanhoe Avenue in Norwood.
Michelle Cadell says she and her brother Micheal Blevins grew up across the street from Bales and knew him as a boy, teen and a young man. But she doesn’t remember him as the kind of person who could massacre Afghan children and other civilians.
“That’s not our Bobby Bales,” said Michelle Cadell.
Bales’ mother has a listed address in Miami Township, Clermont County. Several relatives appear to live in the area, including one in Evendale. None could be reached Friday.
Evendale police issued a statement Friday night asking reporters not to identify the relative who lives there. The home of the Evendale relative was dark and neighbors did not answer their doors Friday night.
A classmate, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he graduated from Norwood High School in 1991 with Bales and the two played on the football team together. He remembered Bales being outgoing and “very intelligent.”
In his senior year, Bales committed to play football at the College of Mount St. Joseph, according to a 1991 report by The Enquirer, though it could not be confirmed Friday night whether he attended the college or graduated from there.
According to his background report, Bales lived in many parts of Ohio, spending time in Fairfield, Cincinnati, Columbus and Westerville, before moving in 2005 to Lake Tapps, Wash.
Bales is being sent to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
He is married with two small children. He lost part of one foot because of injuries suffered in Iraq during one of his three tours of duty there.
Much of what is known about the suspect was disclosed by his lawyer, John Henry Browne, a veteran defense attorney from Seattle who came forward Thursday. Browne said when the 11-year veteran heard he was being sent to Afghanistan late last year, he did not want to go. He also said that a day before the rampage, the soldier saw a comrade’s leg blown off.
Military officials have insisted from the beginning that it is usual procedure to keep a suspect’s identity secret until he is officially charged. They have maintained that stance even after a hearing for the detained soldier Tuesday found probable cause to continue holding him.
Browne says the sergeant is originally from the Midwest. His children are 3 and 4.
The sergeant’s family said they saw no signs of aggression or anger. “They were totally shocked” by accounts of the massacre, Browne said. “He’s never said anything antagonistic about Muslims. He’s in general very mild-mannered.”
The lawyer denied reports that the soldier had marital problems, saying he and his wife have a solid relationship. The suspect’s family has been moved onto the base to protect them, military officials say.
His wife, Karilyn, keeps several blogs, including one that makes reference to the family possibly moving to Kentucky.
“Well we found out yesterday that Bob did not get promoted to E7 this year,” she wrote about a year ago. “It is very disappointing after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he has made for his love of his country, family and friends. I am sad and disappointed too, but I am also relieved, we can finally move on to the next phase of our lives.
“We are hoping that if we are proactive and ask to go to a location that the Army will allow us to have some control over where we go next,” she wrote. She chose five possible locations the family would like to be assigned to, one of them being Kentucky. “We would at least be near Bob’s family,” she wrote.
The soldier, who received sniper training, is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, of the 2nd Infantry Division, which is based at Lewis-McChord and has been dispatched to Iraq three times since 2003, military officials say.
During Bales’ time in Iraq, Browne said, the soldier was injured twice. He suffered a concussion in a vehicle accident caused by an improvised explosive device, and sustained a battle-related injury requiring surgery that removed part of one foot. Browne said his client was “highly decorated.”
When he returned to the Seattle area, the staff sergeant at first thought he would not be required to join his unit when it shipped out for Afghanistan, the lawyer said. His family was counting on him staying home.
“He wasn’t thrilled about going on another deployment,” Browne said. “He was told he wasn’t going back, and then he was told he was going.”
The staff sergeant arrived in Afghanistan in December.
On Saturday, the day before the shooting spree, Browne said, the soldier saw his friend’s leg blown off.
Bales has had a few run-ins with the law in Washington in recent years, according to a report by The News Tribune newspaper in Tacoma, Wash.
In 2002 he received a deferred sentence for a misdemeanor criminal assault charge which was “dismissed after Bales completed an anger management assessment, had no other law violations in six months and paid a $300 fine, court records show,” according to the article.
He was also cited in a roll-over crash in Oct. 2008.
listen to the 45 minute episode about the astrology and numerology for Robert Bales at:
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
962592 21351 45
his path of destiny = 45 = Things go horribly wrong.
Robert Bales was born on June 30th, 1973 (time of birth unknown) according to http://politicalastrologyblog.com/2012/03/17/the-astrology-of-robert-bales-and-the-kandahar-massacre/
the focal point: his natal Mars/Chiron = Eris
comprehensive summary and list of predictions for 2012:
learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson: