Wife of Accused Soldier Kept Blog on Travails of Army Life
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 Sgt. 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 online presence appears to have been removed in recent days, the fragments that remain capture the daily travails typical of any family with a loved one stationed abroad.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, 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 Sergeant Bales had.
A little less than a year ago, in March 2011, Ms. 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 Ms. Bales was also relieved, she wrote, because she hoped that the Army might allow the family some autonomy in choosing its next location, after Sergeant Bales had spent years at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State.
She listed her top choices: Germany (“best adventure opportunity!”); Italy (“2nd best adventure opp”); Hawaii (“nuff said”); Kentucky (“we would at least be close to Bob’s family”); and Georgia (“to be a sniper teacher, not because it is a fun place to live”).
In some of these locations, Sergeant Bales’s chances of being deployed to a war zone would probably have been lower. Wherever they went, Ms. 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, Ms. Bales focused on ordinary struggles. She described surprise phone calls and solo doctor’s appointments, attempts to clean the house while Sergeant Bales 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 Sergeant Bales could decorate eggs with their daughter, Quincy, before leaving home again.