They were all with the 3d Stryker Brigade Combat Team. That's the Army's first ever Stryker Brigade. He went with them on their first deployment to Mosul in Northern Iraq. That one BDE relieved the entire 101st Airborne Division. Not only that, but Strykers had never been used in combat, so they had to figure that all out on the fly as well.
I got to the company right as they came back from Iraq. I can tell you for certain, Bales stood out immediately as a go-to guy. He was an E-4 (Specialist) at the time but quickly got promoted to Sergeant and took over my 1st Squad, Alpha Team. He is VERY smart, very intense, and was just everything you could want in a Team Leader. He knew when to be relaxed, and he knew when to be hard. He could joke around with guys during down-time, then be 100% business on a mission.
He saved my Stryker during one particular engagement. We had been in Mosul for months (this was his second deployment, my first). When you're in an area for that long, you can easily let your guard down when you NEVER take contact. Bales, however, was always on his game. We were checking out an area in a fairly tight alleyway, and he pulled security directly to the rear of the vehicle from his hatch. I was talking to my commander over the radio when I heard Bales yell "RPG!" and then immediately open fire. By the time I had even dropped into my hatch, he had shot the RPG shooter, causing the RPG to fly high and miss my vehicle. They caught the guy later that day getting treated for a GSW in an Iraqi hospital.
That second deployment was hell. It was Jul 2006-Sept 2007, 15 months, during the height of the insanity in that country. We got bounced around all over the country after we left Mosul. Constant stress, always waiting to be blown up or ambushed--AQI, Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, who knew? In our last three months, we were in a neighborhood called Dora. Just in the first week we had six Strykers destroyed and over 40 people wounded. Bales was rock-solid the entire time.
Bales was frequently the lead guy in the door whenever we conducted a raid (we did about 50 of them). He never complained, he wanted to be there for his guys. A tremendous NCO.
I honestly don't care what comes out of this, b/c I know who he is. I just hope that you all will keep this in mind when you see the inevitable character assassination on TV news.
Thanks for your report.
Thanks so much for letting your FReeper family know about this. I just printed your post out for my husband (Viet Nam vet) to read. He has tears.
Thanks for the info
I think that is the kind of info we need, thanks you for that. and thanks for your service
Be a cold day in hell before I believe any slams against this man...he wasn’t highly decorated for nothing. It shows that he was no slouch to have been promoted that fast but later he was court martialed..wonder why?
It infuriates me when people label him before the truth is all out...please dont let them execute him.
Once again...thank you so much and also very sincerely for your service.
I am just heartsick over this
Terrible. Thank you for telling us this. Prayers for him and his family.
Future Snake Eater (Don’t stop. Keep moving!)
Thank you for your service and for standing up for this soldier. Americans need to understand how incredibly difficult it is to serve in the military, especially now. Our thoughts and prayers are with SSgt Bales, his family and his comrades in arms.
I'm guessing everybody, no matter how rock solid, has his breaking point.
Thank You. The “Pray For America’s Heroes” Team is lifting him up in prayer
That is really an incredible and powerful insight you are giving us. After reading what you told us about Sgt Bales it is very sad and very shocking to see him breaks like this... War is hell indeed...
Thank you for this information. My prayers are with this soldier and his family are in my prayers.
And thank you for your service.
Thank you for sharing the real Sgt Robert Bales with us. Prayers for his safety and an honest trial and prayers for his family.
Thanks for that personal report, Future Snake Eater.
The military is making negative allegations against Sgt Bales awfully quick - the alleged drinking, the alleged issues with family. THe lawyer is absolutely disputing the family problems - very strong family, but will not talk to his client until he is in Leavenworth because he doesn’t thrust the govt phone lines (lol - smart man)
As far as the drinking allegations - those came from a couple of buddies having “conversations” with military investigators.......I’ll take those with a grain of salt at this point.
Thankfully, he’s coming back stateside. He will have much better access to his lawyer, his family, and media (if that will be helpful). Kuwati’s probably did him a favor by making a stink that the military get him out of their country (IMO).
Anyone hearing anything else about this incident?
Thank you so much for sharing all of this. May God keep watch over this man, his family, friends and country.
Will keep him and his family in my prayers.
And God bless you and thank you for your service.
Sgt Bales and his family will certainly be in my prayers.
Thanks so much for your service. The descriptions of his actions aren’t passing the smell test with me. Children, half-assed attempts to burn the bodies?
Your description shows someone who would’ve done damage in much more effective ways if even if he lost positive control.
Anything’s possible but this seems like a set-up to make leaving Afghanistan a priority and engender support to leave. Just mho.
Your posts are excellent. My prayers are with Bales and his family.
Yes, thank you for that report. Something was wrong that should have been seen and cared for.
This is just too sad.