Accused Army Sergeant Seen as Quiet Family Man

But Robert Bales was disappointed in lack of promotion, Afghan tour
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2012 7:10 AM CDT
Accused Army Sergeant Seen as Quiet Family Man
In this 2011 Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System photo, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, right, participates in an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.   (AP Photo/DVIDS, Spc. Ryan Hallock)

(Newser) – Information about Robert Bales, the US staff sergeant accused of massacring 16 Afghan civilians, is emerging now that he's been identified. The married father of two is originally from Ohio, reports NBC News. He joined the Army 11 years ago at 27, right after the Sept. 11 attacks, and has been injured twice in combat over four deployments. But despite 20 awards and commendations, his service record was considered unremarkable, and Bales had been passed over for promotion, according to the AP. He had been training to become an Army recruiter last year when he learned he was shipping out, says his lawyer, according to the New York Times. “I think that it would be fair to say that he and the family were not happy that he was going back.”

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Bales did have some record of trouble, getting arrested for assaulting a girlfriend in 2002. He pleaded not guilty, and the case was dismissed after 20 hours of anger management counseling. But Bales' neighbors in Tacoma considered him warm, if quiet about his experiences in the Army. "When I heard him talk, he said ... `Yeah, that's my job. That's what I do'," said one neighbor. "He never expressed a lot of emotion toward it." Another: "I just can't believe Bob's the guy who did this. A good guy got put in the wrong place at the wrong time." Bales is back in the US, in custody at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. (Read more Robert Bales stories.)

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