Accused Soldier ‘Took My Life Savings’
March 20, 2012 by staff
Accused Soldier ‘Took My Life Savings’, The law office of John Henry Browne, the attorney representing Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan, has released the following statement to Fox 8 News:
“The defense team, which includes civilian attorneys John Henry Browne and Emma Scanlan and detailed military defense counsel Major Thomas Hurley, plan to spend several days meeting with Staff Sergeant Robert Bales this upcoming week.
Public reports that Sergeant Bales’ supervisors, family and friends describe him as a level-headed, experienced soldier are consistent with information gathered by the defense team.
It is too early to determine what factors may have played into this incident and the defense team looks forward to reviewing the evidence, examining all of Sergeant Bale’s medical and personnel records, and interviewing witnesses.
Sergeant Bales’ family is stunned in the face of this tragedy, but they stand behind the man they know as a devoted husband, father and dedicated member of the armed services.”
Afghans continued to grieve, and continued to fume, as a new day dawned on Sunday, exactly one week after a U.S. soldier allegedly went house to house shooting dead 16 villagers.
Much to the villagers’ disgust, the man suspected of single-handedly carrying out the attack — Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, a decorated combat veteran who once took pride in saving civilians in Iraq — is more than 7,000 miles away.
He arrived late Friday at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is being held in solitary pre-trial confinement at the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, the Army said Saturday in a statement.
Bales is accused of leaving a remote U.S. combat outpost on foot before dawn on March 10 and killing people in their homes in villages in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.
The chilling images of bloodied, limp bodies — among the dead, nine children — from that grisly attack are hard to reconcile with positive recollections of some who know him growing up and as a loving husband and father of two young children, as well as an official military account documenting his humanitarian battlefield exploits.
Bales attended elementary, middle and high school in Norwood, Ohio, a suburb of just over 19,000 people, located 5 miles northeast of Cincinnati, according to people who knew him.
Family friends who knew him growing up spoke highly of Bales. He played football and graduated in 1991 from Norwood High School, signing his name alongside other football players on a high school yearbook page as “Bob DOOM Bales.”
He then attended and played football at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, two family friends said Saturday. Records indicate Bales later lived at multiple addresses in the Columbus area, not far from Ohio State University.
He joined the Army two months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was assigned in September 2002 to Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, according to a brief summary released Saturday by the Army. It listed multiple decorations for Bales, including three Army “good conduct” medals.
He deployed to Iraq right after the 2003 invasion and then again in 2006, when he served 15 straight months as part of then-President Bush’s so-called surge of 20,000 additional troops.
According to Bales’ attorney John Henry Browne, the soldier was wounded during that tour and had to have part of his foot amputated.
An Army account recalled a 2007 incident that Bales was part of — what’s known either as the Battle of Zarqa or the Battle of Najaf that left 250 Iraqis dead and 81 wounded.
The mission going in was to recover a helicopter that had been shot down, killing both pilots. But the clearing operation turned into more of a humanitarian one to help many wounded civilians, according to the Army account posted online in February 2009.
Bales, who was serving then as a team leader, is quoted as saying that U.S. troops went to find people “we could help” and brought them out for treatment.
“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,” Bales said.
“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.”
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