(FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) — Staff Sgt. Robert Bales remains locked up on Saturday in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is being housed in a private cell away from other inmates.
Charges are expected soon against Bales, who allegedly went on a killing spree that ended the lives of 16 Afghan civilians. Bales was flown out of Afghanistan and arrived at the Army prison Friday night.
Bales, 38, and the father of two, is accused of breaking into several Afghan homes in the middle of the night last Sunday and killing 16 civilians, mostly women and children. He could face the death penalty if found guilty.
Pentagon officials said that Bales’ being brought back to the U.S. does not necessarily mean that his military court proceedings will be held in the U.S., holding out the possibility that they could be held in Afghanistan. The Afghan government is demanding that Bales be tried in Afghanistan.
Details of Bales’ military record have also emerged and they depict a soldier who has seen intense combat and lost part of a foot.
Bales, who enlisted shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks, was first deployed in November 2003 when his unit spent a year in Mosul, Iraq.
In June 2006 he and his unit were sent back to Iraq and their year-long deployment was given a three month extension until September 2007. During that time, he saw duty in Mosul in the north, Bagdad when the city was pressed by militants, and then to Baquba where his unit took major casualties.
His final Iraq deployment was from September 2009 to September 2010 in Diyala province, which was also a hotbed of insurgent activity.
In December 2011, he was ordered to Afghanistan.
Bales’ alleged murderous rage is in stark contrast to what he said after a fierce battle in Zarqa, Iraq, in 2007.
“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,” he told Fort Lewis’ Northwest Guardian.
“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 said at the time.
Bales reportedly spent his entire 11-year career at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and lived not too far from the base. Originally from the Midwest, he was deployed with the Second Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in December.
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