Blog by soldier’s wife chronicled pain of Army life

Specialist Ryan Hallock/DVIS/Via Associated Press
Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (left) is accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in an attack last week.

NEW YORK - She detailed her pregnancy, with her husband a world away. She described the pit she got in her stomach from missing him. She wrote of her disappointment after he was passed over for a promotion.

But mostly, Karilyn Bales — the wife of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers last week — relayed the simple anguish of life as a military wife, tending to a home with two young children, with a husband summoned for repeated deployments.

“Bob left for Iraq this morning,’’ she wrote in her family blog on Aug. 9, 2009. “Quincy slept in our bed last night.’’


Though much of the family’s Web presence has been removed in recent days, the remaining fragments show the daily travails typical of any family with a loved one stationed abroad.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 107,000 soldiers have been deployed three or more times, Army officials said Saturday. At its peak, the size of the active-duty Army was 570,000. The Army did not have statistics on how many had been deployed four or more times, as Robert Bales had.

Bales was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan four times over a decade. He was particularly upset about being sent to Afghanistan, his wife wrote last year.

Bales has not been formally charged in the killings in Afghanistan. He is being held at the military’s maximum-security prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

In March 2011, Karilyn Bales wrote on her blog that her husband had not received a promotion to E-7, sergeant first class. The family was disappointed, she said, “after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he has made for his love of his country, family and friends.’’


But she was also relieved, she wrote, because she hoped that the Army might allow the family some autonomy in choosing its next location, after Robert Bales had spent years at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. She listed her top choices: Germany, Italy, Hawaii, Kentucky, and Georgia.

Wherever they went, Karilyn Bales said she hoped to rent out their house in Lake Tapps, Wash., she wrote, “so that we would have it to come back to when our adventure is over.’’

More often, she focused on ordinary struggles. She described surprise phone calls and solo doctor’s appointments, attempts to clean the house while her husband was gone, and the “bad dreams’’ she woke from after a nap on the day he left in 2009. She recalled discussions of baby names with him while he was away, and celebrating Easter one Sunday early, so that Robert Bales could decorate eggs with their daughter, Quincy, before leaving home again.

In 2006, while she was pregnant with Quincy, Bales wrote that though she was careful not to wish the days away, “I only want the days to go by fast when it comes to Bob coming back home.’’

When Quincy was born in December 2006, Bales wrote, she received a call at the hospital. “It was Bob calling from the airport in Kuwait!!’’ she wrote. “It was so good to hear his voice. I told him how the birth went and he got to hear Quincy squeaking in the background.’’


Bales’ post from March 2011, about the Army promotion, appears to have been the blog’s latest entry. In it, she explained why she maintained the site. The collection of posts was a “time capsule,’’ she wrote, and she hoped that her children would one day “enjoy reading about the decisions that Mom and Dad went through during their lives.’’

With a relocation expected, she said, the family’s coming months would be full of change. “I am hoping to blog about it and look back in a year,’’ she wrote, “to see how far we have come from right now.’’