Months before he committed an inexplicable massacre, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales showed a split personality to his fellow soldiers at a small outpost in Southern Afghanistan.
As far as soldiers who outranked him were concerned, the Tacoma-area soldier was the “even keeled” combat veteran whom leaders could trust.
“Nothing would have led me to believe he was capable of doing the thing that he did,” a higher-ranking Special Forces soldier later told military police.
But the junior soldiers who took orders from Bales saw a different side to the four-time combat veteran from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
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They called him “bipolar,” “crazy” and “paranoid” – the “control freak” who fixated on lights in the distance and aired his marital problems to much younger men.
If anyone was going to break, they figured it would be Bales.