By HUGO GYE and BETH STEBNER
PUBLISHED: 14:08, 17 March 2012 | UPDATED: 14:19, 17 March 2012
Details are emerging that depict the home life of the U.S. soldier held in connection to the shooting rampage that claimed the lives of 16 Afghan civilians six days ago.
Karilyn Bales, who works as a project manager for a marking firm, wrote on her blog that she was ‘sad and disappointed’ her husband didn’t get a promotion that would have allowed them an assignment in an adventurous location like Italy, Germany, or Hawaii.
'It is very disappointed (sic) after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he has made for his love of his country, family and friends,' she wrote early last year on the blog. 'I am sad and disappointed too, she wrote.'
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Soldier: Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, left, is the soldier alleged to have killed 16 Afghan civilians as they slept
Repatriated: Bales, right, is returning to the U.S. on Friday night to face trial for the alleged attack
She added: 'But I am also relieved, we can finally move on to the next phase of our lives,’ she wrote.
Real estate agent Phillip Rodocker said that Mrs Bales was earnestly looking to ‘stabilize her home life.’
According to the Seattle Times, Bales was on-duty when his first child was born in December 2006. ‘He simply cannot wait for the surprise to come,’ Mrs Bales wrote on her blog in May of that year.
But with a growing family, the tours of duty appeared to put a strain on the family.
‘The family was counting on him not being redeployed,’ Mr Browne told reporters Friday. ‘He and the family were told that his tours in the Middle East were over.’
He continued: ‘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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Neighbours said he was a loving father two his two children – his daughter, Quincy, and son, Bobby, adding that there were no signs that the Army sergeant was troubled.
The best case scenario for the next phase in their family's life, Mrs Bales wrote, would be an Army assignment in an adventurous location like Germany, Italy or Hawaii, and barring that, possibly an assignment in Georgia, where her husband could become a sniper instructor.
‘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,' Mrs Bales wrote.
It would seem she was greatly looking forward to the promotion, which would allow him to be home with her and their children.
But when Bales was passed over for the position, Mrs Bales was understandably upset.
Empty: The couple's Bonney Lake, Washington home was put on the market for $229,000 this Monday, more than $50,000 less than what they paid for it in 2005. Bales' wife and two children have been moved to Joint Base Lewis McChord in Tacoma
Disarray: Boxes on the porch of Bales's home after his family was moved to a military base for their protection
Next to normal: Neighbour Paul Wohlberg lived next door to Bales and said he was a man who loves his country. 'I'm sure he still does,' he said
Sgt Robert Bales, who served as an Army sniper, joined the military after the September 11th terrorist attacks.
His attorney, John Henry Browne, described the couple’s marriage as ‘fabulous.’
A neighbour, Paul Wohlberg, recalled that when he last saw Bales in November the two men talked briefly about the soldier's imminent departure for Afghanistan.
'I just told him to be safe. He said, 'I will. See you when I get back,' said Mr Wohlberg, who recalled attending barbeques at the Bales' homes.
Mr Wohlberg described Bales as a man who clearly loved his country. 'I'm sure he still does,' he said.
The 38-year-old soldier, who arrived at a detention centre in Kansas yesterday night, had been in Afghanistan since December, despite telling his family he did not want to return on what would be his fourth tour of duty.
Bales, an 11-year veteran, is said to have been plagued by various stresses stemming from his deployment, his marriage, and the fact that he had seen a friend's leg blown off the day before the massacre.
The father of two from Ohio was reported to have been drunk at the time of the alleged rampage, according to some sources.
Detained: This photo appears to show Bales, left, participating in a training exercise before his deployment to Afghanistan in December
Arrival: A van believed to be transporting Bales leaves Kansas City International Airport on Friday evening
He was also suffering from a traumatic brain injury, but this was not considered enough to disbar him from active service.
A military newsletter from September 2011 featured Bales participating in a training exercise designed to improve relations between the U.S. military and Afghan civilians.
He is recorded asking a village elder: 'How's the security affecting your family?'
And after a 2007 battle in Iraq, he told a local newspaper: 'I've never been more proud to be a part of this unit than that day for the simple fact that we discriminated between the bad guys and the noncombatants and then afterward we ended up helping the people that three or four hours before were trying to kill us.
'I think that's the real difference between being an American as opposed to being a bad guy, someone who puts his family in harm's way like that.'
Bales was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, Washington, where his family - including his children, thought to be aged three and four - remains under protection.
Tour of duty: Bales was on his fourth combat tour at the time of the shooting
He was flown to an American base in Kuwait earlier this week, but on Friday evening was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for detention ahead of a future court martial.
The Army said he was placed in his own cell, not a normal four-person bay. He will get time out of his cell for hygiene and recreational purposes and religious support.
Bales has not yet been charged over his alleged offences, nor has he been officially named by the military.
His attorney, John Henry Browne, has said he plans to highlight Bales's suspected post-traumatic stress disorder, exacerbated by his witnessing an explosion the day before the alleged attack.
'He's never said anything antagonistic about Muslims. He's in general very mild-mannered.'
-Attorney John Henry Browne
'We have been informed that at this small base that he was at, somebody was gravely injured the day before the alleged incident - gravely injured, and that affected all of the soldiers,' Mr Browne said.
He also said that the soldier had previously been injured twice - once sustaining a concussion and, on another occasion, requiring surgery that removed part of his foot - and he and his family thought he was done fighting and might become a military recruiter instead.
Mr Browne added: 'He wasn't thrilled about going on another deployment. He was told he wasn't going back, and then he was told he was going.'
He told reporters that he has met with the wife and other family members of the 38-year-old staff sergeant.
'They were totally shocked,' he said. 'He's never said anything antagonistic about Muslims. He's in general very mild-mannered.'
He said the family said they were unaware of any drinking problem, and described the couple's marriage as 'fabulous'.
Tears of grief: An Afghan youth mourns for his relatives, who were allegedly killed by the U.S. service member over the weekend
Burning anger: Afghan students protested this week and burnt an effigy of President Obama
Neighbours of the soldier in Lake Tapps, Washington, were surprised to hear of the allegations against Bales.
Kassie Holland, who lives next door, said she would often see Bales playing with his two kids and the family together at the modern split-level home.
'My reaction is that I'm shocked,' she said. 'I can't believe it was him. There were no signs. It's really sad. I don't want to believe that he did it.
'He always had a good attitude about being in the service. He was never really angry about it. When I heard him talk, he said, it seemed like, yeah, that's my job. That's what I do. He never expressed a lot of emotion toward it.'
Military officials say the soldier received sniper training and 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.
Beau Britt, who lives across the street, said: 'For something like that to be right across the street from us is just amazing.
'I kind of sympathise for him, being gone, being sent over there four times. I can understand he's probably quite wracked mentally, so I just hope that things are justified in court. I hope it goes OK.'
Lawyer: The shooter is being represented by John Henry Browne, pictured, an attorney who has defended notorious serial killer Ted Bundy and the 'Barefoot Bandit
Horrific: The bodies of an elderly Afghan man and a child killed in the Alkozai village of Panjwayi district are shown wrapped in blankets
Bales and his wife bought the Lake Tapps home in 2005, according to records. The home was placed on the market Monday, the day after the attack, and was listed at $229,000. Overflowing boxes were piled on the front porch, and a U.S. flag leaned against the siding.
Bales - who signed up to the military after 9/11 and served three tours of Iraq - had no prior events in his Army dossier indicating misbehaviour, according to the lawyer.
The soldier could face the death penalty if convicted of the crime, according to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Bales had completed 20 hours of anger-management counseling following a 2002 arrest at a Tacoma hotel for investigation of assault. Browne said the case involved a woman other than Bales' wife, whom he married in 2005.
Records also associated with Bales show that in 2009 he had a hit-and-run charge dismissed in municipal court in Sumner.
Mr Browne's resumé includes defending notorious serial killer Ted Bundy and Colton Harris-Moore, the 'Barefoot Bandit'. Bales specifically asked that he should represent him.
A high-ranking U.S. official told The New York Times on Thursday: 'When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues - he just snapped'.
Aftermath: Families gather in the Panjwayi district on Sunday, hours after the rogue U.S. soldier opened fire on innocents in three houses, killing 16 people, including nine children
Disbelief: Two grief-stricken Afghan men look into the van where the body of a badly burned child is wrapped in a blue blanket following the shooting last weekend
Nine of the 16 killed by the lone U.S. Army staff sergeant were children, and three were women.
Villagers have described him stalking from house to house in the middle of the night, opening fire on sleeping families and then burning some of the dead bodies.
Mr Browne said he knew little of the facts of the shooting, but disputed reports that a combination of alcohol, stress and domestic issues caused him to snap.
The soldier is suspected of going on a shooting rampage in villages near his base in southern Afghanistan early Sunday, killing nine children and seven other civilians and then burning some of their bodies.
Some villagers told officials they heard shooting from different directions, but many others said they only saw a single soldier. NATO insists the soldier acted alone.
High alert: American soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai village following the shooting of Afghan civilians, after which the Afghan Taliban vowed revenge
Fort Lewis-McChord is about 45 miles south of Seattle and home to about 100,000 military and civilian personnel.
A former soldier out of Fort Lewis shot and injured a Salt Lake City police officer in 2010, and on January 1, a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran shot and killed a Mount Rainier National Park ranger.
Four Lewis-McChord soldiers were convicted in the deliberate thrill killings of three Afghan civilians in 2010.
The military newspaper Stars and Stripes called it 'the most troubled base in the military' that year.
The shooting, which followed a controversial Quran-burning incident involving U.S. soldiers, has outraged Afghan officials.
Scene of the crime: Afghan men investigate at the site of an shooting incident in Kandahar province
After a Thursday visit with United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, pictured, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said NATO troops should leave rural areas and stay on military bases