An Open Letter to Kari Bales, Wife of Soldier Accused of 16 Afghan Deaths

writingUpdate: for those who have asked, here is the website for contributions to the Bales Family.  BALES LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is now sitting in a holding cell on US soil awaiting a visit from his lawyers after being named as the soldier suspected of shooting 16 Afghan civilians. His name was released Friday, and with it a frenzy of media speculation about his four tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, failed or botched PTSD diagnoses, the undue pressures that may have been created by his financial woes and professional difficulties, and allegations that he has had run-ins with the law that reveal a challenge with anger management. Neighbors and fellow soldiers describe him as heroic and exemplary and demand that these allegations, if true, are a complete aberration from the man they know.

And yet in all this flurry and speculation, the only person I can think of is Karilyn Bales, his wife of seven years.

I combed through internet pages looking for the blog that Ms. Bales reportedly wrote, in an effort to get a picture of her military life experience. I was horrified to come across a comment from a poster identified only as “Afghanistan” in response to a comment Kari Bales made on an unrelated website. The comment said “It is strange to see a wife of a person who killed 16 innocent people, including 9 children, posted here… I hope justice serves well and he burns in hell.” Similar sentiments were easy to find in the comments on every major news story reporting the emerging details. And it sickened me. I thought about what her life on base must be like in these days. And I cried.

*   *   *

Dear Kari,

I can’t imagine the thud you felt in your heart and the ice that coursed in your veins when you heard a knock and saw a uniform standing at your front door. I can’t fully imagine the fear and the shock and the way that you couldn’t breathe as you thought about what this visit could possibly be about. Was probably about.

And then, the relief in your stomach that quickly turned to sickness when the shock wore off that your husband was alive, only to be told that something terrible had happened for which your husband was the primary suspect. Something very very horrible that you could never understand or imagine your husband, the father of your own children, embarking into the early morning hours to accomplish. I can’t imagine the questions that flooded your brain like a rush of moving water, threatening to drown you and offering no relief for a gasp of air.

What exactly happened? Has he been injured? Where is he now? Is he safe? When can I talk to him? When can I see him? Why can’t I see him? Am I in trouble? Is there anyone I can call? Is there anything I can say? Anything I can’t say? How do you know it’s really true? Do I hire an attorney … how much will that cost? Where will I get the money? Is he even getting a military paycheck now?

And I can only imagine what you felt as you stared blankly at the officer who arrived without any answers to give.

I can’t imagine the stress you were under when you were told that you needed to pack up your things and move onto the base for your own protection, a protection that meant you would be safe from the media but surrounded by people who stared and judged you. And I can’t imagine how that stress turned into shooting pain as you heard a baby down the hallway …

What will I tell the kids when they ask whether daddy is coming home? If they convict him, will he ever see them again? How will I explain what’s happening when people ask me questions in front of them? Will the media know before they do? How will I ever explain it to them if it’s true? How will I ever explain it if it’s not true and I don’t do everything in my power to prove it?

And when I thought of my own husband and my own children, and how devastating it would be, I sat at my own dinner table with my mother, another military wife, and we cried for you tonight, thinking about how alone and isolated you must feel right now …

Why is this happening? How could this happen … Was there something I didn’t see? What was in that last phone call, that last email, that I missed? Should I have begged him to stay home? Would it have made a difference? Why did they send him back again? Will they want to question me? Can I talk to anyone before I’m questioned? Did it even happen that way? Who can I talk to? Who can I trust? Who can hold me and cry with me and tell me that this is all just a bad dream?

Where will we go? What will we do? How long will this take? Who is going to take care of me? Of us?!

I just can’t imagine.

But Kari, in the absence of information, I can still offer you this: I want you to know that I don’t condemn you for being married to a man who has been accused, even though there will be venomous vipers spewing their hatred toward your entire family. I know that no matter what, it isn’t you. I know that there is nothing you could have done to prevent what happened. And I know you are hurting.

I’m praying for you. All of you.


Lori Volkman


413 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jamie winters
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 09:17:23

    Id love to speak with kari. I know its hard not having anyone to understand what she is going through. My ex husband (well legally we are still married) is also at leavenworth. And although as i do not support him, nor have i ever suppprted him because in his case he is a monster, i understand what kari is going through. My husband raped a 14 yr old girl and killed her and her family in iraq in 2006. It made worldwide news and to this day, still doees. Theres been a movie and a book. And the army completely ignores my existence and my need for help. And nobody understands what people like ud go through. Get therapy for your children kari!!! My children are so mentally and emotionally beyond damaged. They suffer everyday. And from now on everyone will recognize you as a murderers wife. It takes a great deal of strength to get through that and to deal with the remarks of people each day. Its been 6 years and i still deal with it everyday. My heart goes out to kari and her family and anyone thats been in a similar situation. The media still contacts me and i have never spoken publically. If anyone wishes to contact me regarding my experience and the negative responses and actions from the army or even just as support feel free. Id really like kari to get a hold of me though. Email is my prayers are with kari and her family so strongly right now and forever. I know what it is to feel alone in this situation.


  2. Dawn McDaniel
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 03:04:43

    It’s Dawn from Trisha’s preschool, Keegan’s mom!! I need to talk to you!!! I’m very worried about you and want to offer support. Angela and I have been trying everything to find you.


  3. Cindy
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 21:59:04

    I don’t know if my I-Pad isn’t recognizing new comments as I’m still seeing comments from 3 hours ago?, or if Lori has had a melt down on her blog site from all the supporters that are posting(I hope it’s the latter one!!) If you receive this can you let me know if something is wrong from my end at
    Cindy Kleese


  4. Dawn
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 19:12:30

    Dear Kari,

    My husband was deployed last year for the first time. We live geographically separated even when he is Stateside; I am not living or working anywhere near other military families. So I am acutely aware at how little understanding most of the general public has about the stress of deployment, and how willing people are to sit in their armchairs and condemn the war and the soldiers fighting it while they enjoy their cushy freedom and do nothing to help, neither to stop the war,nor to win it. I want to scream at the media and the judgmental hypocrits: “Leave these people alone! They have suffered enough! If you had been in this soldier’s shoes, you don’t know that this would not have happened to you.” My prayers and deepest sympathy are with your whole family, now and for the future.


  5. Kay Zambron
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 18:02:01

    No one knows what our guys are going thru over in Iraq and Afganistan and the repeated deployments almost back go back. Then when they get back the debriefing. Do you have nightmares, NO. Do you use alcohol to forget? NO,
    Do you use drugs not prescribed to you? No. What does the service think our
    guys are going to say. Heck yes we has PTSD. We want out. No, most of them want to go right back to their units. Same on the government for not taking better care of our guys. God bless our troops.


  6. charles robinson
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 16:28:09

    Dear Karylin, I am a veteran who has seen both sides of the military justice system. I know that the UCMJ is very one-sided at best, but i hope for you and his sakes that he will be treated fair. SO many people jump to conclusions when someone else is accused of a crime thinking therefore they must be guilty and also for GI’s the public, are ready to diagnose them as though they were a doctor themselves! I bet there’ is a lot more to this story than will come out in the press about what actually happened. In the meantime you will need support form others to get thru this trying time. I will send a donation and hope and pray that things turn out well .


  7. Cindy
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 16:22:26

    I commented about your open letter before I read it as I was proud to have such a special person such as yourself represent the spouses that are at home, wishing they could convey how (we) feel(reading some of the comments, I see “some” are ready to hand down judgement before trial(have they so easily forgotten Major Hasan that murdered 13/injured 29? He hasn’t had a trial as they are trying to determine if he was “insane” at the time of the murders? & he was a psychiatrist entrusted to help our men & women coming back from a war zone?) I’m so glad I found your story & your blog & thank you so much for speaking on behalf of myself & others who do not hand out verdicts & sentences without knowing all the facts!


  8. Kristi Kille
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 16:20:49

    Okay, I just want to say that after a few days of thinking about doing this . . . I finally did it. I hand-wrote, and mailed, a letter of Christian love, compassion, and encouragement to Sgt. Bales. I mailed it to him in care of the Director of Inmate Administration. I hope that he gets the letter. I trust that even if it’s not the right prison there, that my letter will be forwarded on to the correct one. From what I could find online, I think that there are three military prisons at Fort Leavenworth. Last week I did send the Army base two emails—to two separate places on the base—asking of the address of where I can send the letter of Christian love, compassion, and encouragement to. But, I never got a response. So, I followed one of my favorite quotes: “Just do it.” I took the chance and sent it to him in care of the Director of Inmate Administration. That is the best I could do. I know my letter will probably be screened and that’s perfectly fine with me and I know that he might not answer and that’s perfectly fine, too. I just wanted to extend my Christian love, compassion, and encouragement to him during these dark days, and I’m sure he will be experiencing these dark days for a very long time. I did save my hand-written letter to him in a word document on my computer as well. I can only hope and pray that he gets the letter—hopefully the Army will give it to him.

    God bless him and his wife and children!! God bless all of you military wives and family members!! 🙂


    • Cassandra Kerns
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 16:50:25

      I think that is extremely kind of you. I don’t know whether or not the media is deliberately not naming the prison that he is in but due to the fact that my husband is at the same place I have the proper address to send a letter to if you would like it. My mother in law and I have trouble getting my husband things and we know the exact address and his inmate number. If you would like me to send you the address I would be more than happy to because I think that SSG Bales needs and deserves as much support from people as kind as you. If you have a facebook and want to look me up I will message you the address for the prison and tell you exactly how it needs to be addressed in order for him to receive it. They recommend that you have the inmate number on there but it isn’t necessary it just a few days longer for them to receive it without it.


      • Cindy
        Mar 26, 2012 @ 22:34:46

        I don’t know if Lori forwarded my e-mail to you as I’m not sure my e-mail went thru?, but I feel the same as Kristi & would love to send SST Bales a letter & also to tell you that I don’t know what it is like having a spouse deploy(my husband was lucky and didn’t have to deploy!), but we do have a friend(who we say is our adopted son as we are in our mid 40’s & he is 28!! That was deployed. R. still hasn’t dealt with the loss of far to many friends & I would go to HELL & BACK to support him no matter what he did as he already beats himself up DAILY for not being a worthy man, he feels he is not worthy of love & sabatoges many relationships due to his internal battle….he’s lost many friends over the years but my husband & I will never abandon him as we love him UNCONDITIONALLY! I offer you my support as well as you have a similar situation(without all the media attention!) I can’t imagine what you two have & will continue to go thru, but I’m a good listener & would love the opportunity to support you as I well write SST. Bales & your spouse as well if the need is there(I’m sure your spouses are reeling from all the events that have happened during this awful war & it’s aftermath!) I hope to hear from you Cassandra & I am going to pray for your family as well as the Bale family….God Bless


      • Kristi Kille
        Mar 27, 2012 @ 10:43:03

        Hi, Cassandra!!

        Thank you!! I already mailed the letter to Sgt. Bales. But, if you would like, you can send me a message,. on facebook, with the correct address and I can resend the letter. I took the guess that he’s at the maximum security prison. The picture you see of me here, with my youngest niece, is my facebook profile picture. I’m so sorry about your husband being in prison. That has to be difficult.

        God bless our troops, their families, and God bless America!!!


        • LJ Porter
          Mar 28, 2012 @ 08:01:17

          I also would like to send SSGT BAles a letter to let him know our family supports his family. Could u also send me his address please? I have 3 kids in the military and my Army son says if i just send a letter with his name and prison on it they wont deliver it to him. Thank u and God bless.


  9. Angela W
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 15:43:35

    Kari….Ashlyn, Sydney, and I are praying for you and the kids. My heart is breaking for you.



  10. Peter
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 14:45:08

    Kari Bales is in denial. Her husband is a killer of women and children. I have no empathy for her and only hatred for anyone who could commit such acts now that it has been revealed he left his base twice to KILL!


    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 15:38:45

      Sorry you have no empathy and only hatred. I would be in denial, too. She doesn’t know any of the facts. Neither do you.


    • Kristi Kille
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 16:07:10

      Peter, although we are told, by the media, that Sgt. Bales acted alone, he admits that he does not remember doing any of this and I believe him. This is not totally his fault, but that of the Army as well, because they knew of his previous injuries and yet they deployed him anyway!! The Army is to blame, as well.

      But, let this be battled out in court, among the attorneys, etc. As the saying goes, “The truth shall set you free.”


  11. LJ Porter
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 12:05:17

    I know a soldier that was diagnosed with PTSD, placed on paxil and promptly discharged-honorable-general- condition not a disability. Now 3 1/2 yrs later, he’s still received 0 from the army and has been unable to access his VA..he can’t even get counseling or anything to do with VA benefits including his GI bill. His DD214 doesn’t have anything on it about his training(82nd/cav scout), 15 month deployment to Afghanistan, he was care flighted out twice, blown up 5 times by IED’s suffered TBI as well as other injuries and the family received a call from Army Casualties once. The family also received a call from an Army Sgt asking where the soldier was and that he needed to call his command immediately or be AWOL when in fact, that soldier was deployed to Afghanistan and was in theater at the time of that call from the Army. This soldier is currently unemployed, depressed and devastated by his treatment from our wonderful military. After seeing what this family has gone thru and mind you, I know 3 other families going thru similar issues..I now make sure families I know are well aware of what could happen to their family member if they enlist. Our military members are sacrificing EVERYTHING for our country and shouldn’t be treated so poorly. It sickens me. Just to make it clear; my family has a long history in the military and I have kids in the Army, Marines and Air Force; each of whom, have their own horror stories going on. I have tried to contact everyone under the sun and have gotten nothing. No responses, no follow up, no concern or interest; it’s like we don’t exist. I’ve come to learn from my dealings with the VA , it’s employees and the military that if you go to the back of the line. It’s a continuous revolving conveyor belt to nowhere. It’s sad but I see the dozen or so of our local kids’ home now and I understand what drives them to alcohol, drugs and suicide. They feel forgotten and the reality of it is…they are. SSGT. Bales is innocent until proven guilty and I for one want the military to prove THEIR actions didn’t lead to yet another sad story of a fallen warrior. Our prayers go out to the Afghanistan families who have lost their loved ones and to SSGT Bales family whose lives will forever be change


    • Jeanette
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 13:38:16

      Thank you for sharing your story, so many of our men and women go without care after years of sacrifice. I truly hope your friends and family get the care they deserve.


  12. FR
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 11:48:30

    Kari Bales says she doesn’t believe her husband is capable of killing civilians — even though he’s a sniper, has a history of domestic abuse, has been involved in fleeing the scene of an accident and fleecing a retired couple of a million dollars from their life savings (money they were using to pay medical bills). Kari is no judge, as she obviously has conveniently ignored any negative issues in her family.

    I also find it disgusting that the trial is happening in Washington state rather than Afghanistan “so the family can be closer”. Robert Bales took the lives of innocents whose families will never be “close” to them again! He should be tried in Afghanistan and subject to their laws and punishments. It’s a miscarriage of justice that the victims’ families will have to come to the US for the trial.

    And one other thing – there is no amount of financial stress, battle fatigue, injury or whatever that excuses Mr Bales from culpability for his crimes. The Afghan&Iraqi people have been subjected to far worse than a soldier who can up and leave when his tour is complete. When the real victims retaliate against their occupiers, they are labeled “terrorists”, “assassins”, “evil”,'”godless” and worse. Accordingly, the excuses being made for Bales are revolting. Kari Bales knows her husband, she knows he’s guilty. She is denying it, but she knows the truth — deep down, that little voice inside her has warned her before — her husband is a monster.


    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 12:01:29

      I can appreciate your viewpoint, though I think it makes alot of assumptions. I also think the location of the trial had more to do with the availability of legal help, not family. Finally, there actually IS a certain amount of stress that would keep SSG Bales (not Mr.) from culpability for his crimes. It’s technically called a defense, not an excuse. But that’s what this trial will determine.


      • FR
        Mar 26, 2012 @ 18:52:01

        Ms Volkmann,
        I didn’t ASSUME that the trial would take place in WA so the family could be closer — it was widely reported in MSNBC and other sources that “The trial, which is not expected to begin for several months, will be held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, nine miles southwest of Tacoma, IN ORDE FOR THE FAMILY TO BE CLOSER TOGETHER.” ( )

        To everyone else that takes exception to the FACTS – again, it’s not my opinion that Bales ripped off an older couple to the tune of $1 million, he was found to be culpable in arbitration/mediation and was even ordered to pay punitive damages (non-lawyers should look up the meaning of punitive damages, it’s significant). Additionally, his history of domestic abuse, fleeing the scene of an accident, etc are FACTS, not opinion. They aren’t things I made up, they are facts relevant to Bales’ character. It’s not unkind or unreasonable to recognize that Kari Bales knows more than she is willing to admit. And it is what it is.


        • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
          Mar 26, 2012 @ 19:37:49

          (1) Well if it’s in the news it must be true.

          (2) See, that’s a common misconception. Paying money in a mediation means only that you didn’t want to pay your lawyers to go to trial. It means he paid them, not that he ripped them off.

          There are facts. But it’s your assumptions about what the facts mean that have you confabulating. That’s all.


          • FR
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 11:31:13

            So you are blaming me for believing fact-checked reports issued by a reputable news org? Since none of you appear to know Bales personally, I wonder where you get your info. Certainly NOT the same reporters who interviewed you, lol. Regardless, the point was that you accuse people of making assumptions when, in fact, the info is being reported by reputable news orgs. Nonsense… .

          • FR
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 11:47:54

            So now you know the reason why Bales went to arbitration. He supposedly didn’t even show up, but you know that he chose arbitration en lieu of other legal recourse. At least I can point to multiple news sources when I say something.

            This is a useless conversation.

          • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 12:27:28

            On that we agree, FR.

        • Nicole
          Mar 26, 2012 @ 19:58:36

          Just because the news reports something does not make it a FACT. They have also reported that she has 2 girls ages 2 & 3. Oh then there she had a boy 4 & girl 6. No wait it’s a boy 3 & girl 4. I have met Kari’s children I can tell you for a FACT how old they are and their gender.

          He was accused of domestic abuse, pleaded not guilty, the charges were dropped. A mediator ordered his company to pay. (First they reported $600K, then it was $1.2 Million, then $1.3M, then $1.4, then $1.5.) He was not found guilty of anything in a court of law.

          The media is so anxious to get the next juicy gossip they have done a poor job of checking their FACTS. If it is a FACT it does not change. The FACT that the information keeps changing further proves that not everything reported is FACT.


        • Karen Eggers
          Mar 26, 2012 @ 20:34:15

          Oh Dear Lord, your right…It was reported in the news so it must be true. The media never gets it wrong. The media rarely reports both sides of a story, or even the full story. The fact is regardless of the situation with SSG Bales; you have no idea what has happed in his marriage with his wife.

          Your comments towards his wife are inappropriate. Until you have walked a mile in someones shoes, you should not judge.


          • jamie winters
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 11:43:37

            The news does not always report facts!!!! I know this first hand! When my husband killed a family in iraq the news reported so much stuff that was far from the truth! They reported that i stood behimd him supportng him, although i never talked to reporters, they also mentioned that he was fine before deploying so he must have snapped, which is bogus because he was psycho and the army knew it because i told them about him and all the abuse. The news was also wrong about where he worked and when and where he got his high school diploma. But according to the news, they had reliable sources. The news is definitely not all facts!

        • Cassandra Kerns
          Mar 27, 2012 @ 12:46:24

          I’ve been reading the comments on this website since I found it because it warms my heart to see the unity that not only we as military wives of all branches have but also as compassionate American citizens have. I tried to convince myself to ignore the negative ones and not engageq but I find it difficult because it seems like the people who deliberately seek out this letter from a compassionate woman are only commenting to hurt a woman that has already been hurt enough and talk negatively about her husband, whom they don’t know at all. Which leads me to my question, FR: Why do you feel the need to negatively comment on something that was meant soley to be a woman showing her support to a fellow military wife and mother that then became a large group of military women from wives to mothers and everything in between, civilians, and past and present military service members showing their support to this sister of ours, her children, and her husband?! Why not comment on the articles from the reputable news organizations that know absolutely everything and never make a single mistake in what they report instead of on a letter of support to a woman that needs our love and compassion. Obviously you have have the right to leave a comment on anything you please but why did you choose to leave your judgement of this man and his wife on this letter?


        • Jeanette
          Mar 27, 2012 @ 13:09:32

          I personally know Bales, his wife is a great friend of mine- we’ve known them for over 7 years. Do you really want know who he is or you want to just keep slinging mud? He’s a kind and gentle man with a great sense of humor. All his soldiers love him, he’s the type of man who gains your respect and doesn’t demand it. He’s genuine, you have a problem and he’s there to help at the very least he’s going to cheer you up. Everyone we know… cried at the news because it’s simply NOT him. Wether he acted or not we can’t say- we weren’t there, but that is NOT him. Of course YOU don’t care about that right? You’re to busy spewing hatred! Hearing what the different media sources tell you [You know the ones fighting for ratings?] to stop and maybe wonder if all of the things they say might be a little bit inflated? No, you are far too busy drawing your own conclusions and talking because you like the sound of your voice. Lets see, in my past they’d find I never graduated high school, i’m a drop out… so the news would probably say I’m uneducated and stupid. Or that I was expelled for doing drugs… or both and both are untrue… I married a soldier and lived happily ever after [seriously]. Then a year later they’d find that I was arrested for shoplifting but never charged [Misunderstanding] the store actually apologized to US… but would they add that last part?! Or how about the countless times I’ve sent in a late payment to my car or cable bill? Even times I’ve gone into collections because I had to pay for my fathers funeral arrangements of my daughters dental bills that Concordia didn’t cover? So they’ll tell everyone on top of being stupid and uneducated; I’m a thief and irresponsible?

          Anyone can look bad if you point out the few indiscretions in their past! Get real!


          • Anne Phillips
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 14:35:51

            I agree with all of the great people ,the smart ones that is .Here I am again the CANADIAN LADY I do not know anything about the family .but what I do know .is that this war,AND THE WAR BEFORE THAT ETC . the persons in it .should all be given money when they come out .not have too struggle all over again NOT LOOK FOR MEDICAL HELP It should be so automatic ,for them .,help in their daily routines of getting back into this world ,The ones by the way they help protect .So if you must be negative ,FIND ANOTHER WEB SITE .Or better yet ,tell your wife ,your chidren .that you are going to help keep all others safe ,but please wait .you just might not be the same ,when you come home .or stay and see all the grief that is over there .On that note .I would like you to keep count if you can .all the number of people AMERICAN ESPECIALLY .PROTECTING you .that have been killed ,YES right in front .of their buddies .seeing them blown apart in some cases .So pack up.your ,bags please .and when you get there ,send someone home .One last thought .do not get sick .do not be afraid .and one more last thought .MAKE SURE YOUR MIND .STAYS IN TACT .

          • John Erickson
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 15:27:03

            And don’t forget, Annette, that we Yanks owe a big debt of gratitude to your fellow countrymen, your fellow Commonwealth soldiers, and all the other countries’ soldiers who have stood beside our Americans and faced the same hardships. I hope this serves as a cautionary tale to other countries, to take care of their vets more reliably than we often have.
            (From a native Chicagoan and honourary member of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.)

          • Cindy
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 15:06:59

            Thank you Jeanette for letting us know a little about SST. Bales as a human being(GODS children, thanks to Jean for that beautiful perspective!) & not a monster as the media outlets portray him to be. I know a lot of us appreciate having this forum to show support for SST. Bales, Kari & their family.

          • John Erickson
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 15:43:40

            Um .. my post was to Anne, not Anette. Sorry, my brain often runs faster than my fingers can type.

          • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 17:10:49

            Better than ther other way around 😉

          • John Erickson
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 18:47:07

            Well, Lori, as I’m permanently disabled due to constant migraine headaches (since 1999), and usually have well over 30mg of Vicodin in me, usually the brain is firmly notched into neutral. What can I say – you caught me on a not-so-terrible day! 😀

          • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
            Mar 27, 2012 @ 19:52:23

            Glad we did. Enjoyed your comments.

    • Karen Eggers
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 12:14:59

      While I respect that you have a different point of few, there are a few things that you are just dead wrong over. US Military are put on trial by a military for offenses that happen overseas, it is covered under the Status of Forces Agreement between the US and and other country. It has nothing to do with having him closer to his family. He is being tried there so he is closer to his legal team, and in accordance with military rules and regulations.

      Just because SSG Bales we trained as a sniper, does not mean that he is a monster. There are hundreds of men in uniform today who are trained as snipers have never injured anyone, who did not raise a weapon to them first.

      I am not even going to address the other things you claim SSG Bales has done, I am not his judge and jury. I am just looking at the situation as it is now. I make no excuses for what happened in Afghanistan, and if he is guilty then he should and will be punished.

      Your comments about his wife are uncalled for, you have no idea what went on in their marriage. You have no right to make such sweeping statements about her.


      • Kristi Kille
        Mar 26, 2012 @ 16:02:17

        Well-stated, Karen!!

        I do believe, for one moment, that Sgt. Bales—as he is rightfully called—that he has no recollection of committing these crimes.

        He certainly is not a “monster”, FR. And the stuff you said about his wife IS totally uncalled for.


    • Army Sergeant
      Apr 03, 2012 @ 02:33:30

      Are you in the military? Are you a military spouse or military supporter?

      What I’m essentially asking is, would you even have read or commented on this milblog if not for this letter?

      I’m an anti-war veteran, and even though you seem to oppose the war, I am ashamed of people like you. And you should be ashamed of yourself for attempting to pick on Kari Bales like that.


  13. sandra Jordan
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 11:09:40

    Dear Kari
    I am a combat Vet that did 4 tours as a US Army Medic . I am so sorry this is happening to you and your husband and kids. I am not going to presume to even understand how you must be feeling . I will say that ypu are loved and supported no matter what happens . I will say that it is so hardto discuss what you have seen and done to a spouse or family and I know in my case I kept much hidden . Keep believeing in your husband as we all do and will help and up hold all of you regardless of what comes. Thank you for your courage in standing up for your husband


  14. definitionofsanity
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 10:28:55

    I watched Karilyn’s interview on the Today show this morning and I think she did a great job introducing us to the “normal” Robert – the Robert who wasn’t under the stress of several deployments and was a great husband/father. Kari, know that I am praying for all of you. Please take care of the kids and yourself.


  15. Jean Edens
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 10:06:50

    Dear Kari:
    Please be assured:
    The Afghani’s are children of God
    The Afghani’s are loved unconditionally by God and others
    The Afghani’s are marred for life
    The Afghani’s are angry and grieving
    The Afghani’s have received apologies
    The Afghani’s have received monetary compensation
    The Afghani’s are unable to be completely restored from their loss
    The Afghani’s know that God is with them even to the end of time
    Please be assured:
    Robert is a child of God
    Robert is loved unconditionally by God and others
    Robert is medically and mentally impaired
    Robert is marred for life
    Robert is angry and grieving
    Robert is innocent until proven quilty
    Robert has the right to be defended
    Robert knows that God is with him even to the end of time
    Please be assured:
    We are broken
    We are hurt
    We are able to face tomorrow by the grace of God.
    We all drink from the same cup of mercy and forgiveness.
    My thoughts and prayers go with us all.
    Stay close to Jesus.


  16. Jeanette
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 09:51:17

    The Staff Sergeant Robert Bales Legal Defense Fund, PO Box 2774, Seattle, WA 98111

    Any help to the family will be greatly appreciated!


    • tom lloyd-butler
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 11:04:28

      Can you give me any information on Staff Seargant Bale’s legal defense fund?
      My name is Thomas LLoyd-Butler and I would like to donate $100.00, so he is freed, or at least has a fair chance.
      thank you.


      • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
        Mar 26, 2012 @ 11:35:03

        Tom, I’ve been told you can find it on the Today Show website. I was also sent an email with the following information: “Contributions can be sent to The Staff Sergeant Robert Bales Legal Defense Fund, PO Box 2774, Seattle, WA 98111. While greatly appreciated, contributions to the fund are not tax deductible.”


  17. nicole majette
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 09:18:15

    This letter was so touching. I hope Kari find this and feels comforted from your words and the warm thoughts other spouses are sending her way.


  18. Amber
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 08:46:43


    I am not a military spouse, I cannot even pretend to understand what it is like to send a loved one into a dangerous environment. My thoughts are with you, your husband, and your children at this time. Something very bad has happened and I don’t think anyone will ever know the real truth. I wish you luck and strength not only for the coming months, but also for the long road ahead.


  19. thefish88
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 08:26:19

    To Kari Bales and her children: As an American citizen, I am so sorry you have lost so much time with your husband/father during this war; especially since this is a useless war. I also want to say, whether your husband/father Robert committed these crimes or not, I don’t blame him nor judge him. I cannot even fathom the conditions these service men and women have endured during this mid-east conflict. And for what… for who? If Robert is in need of some psychotherapy, I hope he gets some and can return to his family. I hope Robert is innocent. I hope this all ends soon. Robert- thank you for your years of service for my country. I will not abandon you in your time of need. I offer my support to the Bales family now and always!


  20. Samantha
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 08:09:42


    As a new military wife (my husband and I have been married since last October and he is a Staff Sargeant in the USAF), I only have some small grasp of what it’s like to constantly live in fear while a spouse is deployed. My husband has been twice in this war-once for 9 months and once for 3. I always say that I was lucky enough to not have known him during those times. It might sound calous, but I live in constant fear of him being deployed again and only have an inkling of how painful it will be.

    That being said, my heart pours out for you and your husband during this time. Whether or not he did these things that they say he did, you have still lost something here-and that is your security and knowledge that your life is at an equilibrium. I don’t know where or when you will get that back, or even if you will-but I pray that you do. I pray that some peace comes to your family during this time and I hope that your community embraces you-because the US military is a worldwide community. What I’ve learned in the last five months is that we are a family in the truest sense of the word. I consider you to be my family and know that others do too. We are all here for you.




  21. Lynn
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 07:20:49

    Kari, I am praying for you. You are in the hearts of every military spouse in America. I know your life will never be the same, and everything seems to be spinning out of control. You are the Queen of the world to your kids, and Bob is still their hero. Your love for him and for them will never change, even when everything else does. I pray that the truth comes to light and that your family finds peace and strength.


  22. Cauleen
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 05:09:00

    There are no words to describe the profound sense of sadness that surrounds this situation (for the deceased, and for Staff Sgt Bales and his family.) I believe that Americans understand the toll these many years at war ( and multiple deployments) have taken on our soldiers and their families. I pray constantly for Staff Sgt Bales and his family, and desperately want to believe he will receive a fair trial at the hands of the military court. I encourage everyone to donate to his defense fund, and am hoping some of that money reaches the family as well.


  23. Jackie
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 01:08:39

    I’m supposing you’ve removed all the criticism you’ve gotten? Because I saw this on the news and couldn’t even believe it. I clicked on just to see if you’d cried for the 16 victims. Of course you hadn’t.


  24. Principled Manitoban
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 21:33:11

    The Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway’s former wife Judith should contact her and share feelings on how it is to find out one is married to a mass murderer. This sicko must get the death penalty for killing innnocent women and children. I hope the Republican nominees Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney for the Presidential race demand nothing less than the death penalty for this cold blooded killer.


    • Kristi Kille
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 23:46:49

      Now, hold on just a minute here. I’m not defending his actions. But, I have to admit that calling him a “sicko” is a bit extreme. You are forgetting that he admits that he does not remember doing any of this. Part of this is the Army’s fault because they knew he had a previous brain injury and yet they felt that he was capable of serving in Afghanistan. Who knows just how extensive of an examination he received. Not one of us, unless we have been there, knows what he saw and experienced. But, I can tell ya that the normal human brain cannot deal with all that. He is also a victim of what he did, and so is his family. We need to show them more love and Christian compassion.


    • Jeanette
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 06:55:55

      How can you possibly compare someone who murdered countless people over more than 10 years to someone who served our country for the same amount of time, was injured in war and snapped? But you have every right to your opinion ironically him and many other men work to the death to give you that right.


  25. Machi
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 19:42:28

    Kari.. Hey it’s me Machi. 🙂 I miss you. I looked for your number and shit I seem to have an old number for you! I am sorry I have not called. I was sitting home, sick with a cold, and watching the news and it registered to me they were talking about your husband. I am here for you if you ever need me. I just want to send you hugs and love because this must be horrible for you. I will try to email you!!

    Love Machi


  26. Jean Edens
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 19:23:39

    Dear Kari:
    We are all God’s children and He loves each of us with His unconditional love. He
    loves Robert unconditionally. He loves you unconditionally. He loves your children unconditionally. He loves all people around the world unconditionally. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers often. Stay close to Jesus.


  27. Meg
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 16:18:24

    Wonderful post- I too am a military wife, daughter, & sister, and Mrs. Bales has been on my mind ever since I first read about her husband”s alleged actions. I wish her all the comfort and strength possible, and I hope that through everything, the Army (and politicians) will learn the agony of long multiple deployments. Chin up Kari, we’ll all be with you.


  28. Charity
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 15:11:16

    This is Bobby’s oldest niece. I don’t know if you’ve been told of me or not. Bobby taught me how to tie my shoes when I was 7 and throw a football better than any boy in my junior high…… Bobby was such a wonderful part of my life growing up even though I hadn’t realized it till here recently. Please know that you, the babies and Bobby are all in my prayers every hour of every day.


  29. Colleen I
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 15:08:26

    My heart goes out to Kari and her family at this time. I can’t imagine what she is going through right now and hope she gets all the love and support she needs to get through everything. I will also keep her husband in my prayers. Military families definitely need to stick together, NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!


  30. shelbylandersen
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 14:37:42

    Praying for you and your family in this difficult time. You’ve already taken one of the most difficult jobs there is- being a military wife. So, I know you are a strong woman- keep that strength!! There are so many behind you, here to support you and your family!


  31. Cindy Casey
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 09:35:07

    As I am scrolling through and reading these posts I am so thankful that there are a multitude of caring individuals out there. I become outraged at the lack of assistance on the part of our leaders when our men and women come home from dealing with experiences that they as humans should not have to deal with. As someone in the Emergency Medical field I understand to a small part PTSD and how that can effect someone. And the tragic thing is that we are not exposing our young people to this once but several times as we deploy them into these areas back to back. My utmost admiration to all who continue to go and serve and to those who stay behind and care for the children. My prayers for all of you…grace be to you and your loved ones!


    • Kristi Kille
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 13:44:08

      I agree with you, Cindy. Our beloved soldiers do get the kind of treatment that they deserve to have when going to these war-torn countries. Unless we’ve been there ourselves, and most of us haven’t, we have absolutely no clue as to the mental torture that they suffer everyday because of what they are forced to see. How can they keep their sanity among all that destruction? To them, the war never ends. They have to suffer this mental torture everyday for the rest of their lives. They are truly victims of war. God bless them and all military families!!!


  32. Maria C Gallo
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 07:00:51

    We civilians go home to our families every night and fail to appreciate the every day, every hour, sacrifice of our military. We do not appreciate or understand the isolation or the horror of it all. Our soldiers come home and then we AND the military mechanisms designed to help them fail them miserably. We must remember that this man suffered a brain injury and, by all accounts, received little or no treatment. He was then sent on another deployment. This man is another casualty of this horrible war. If he is convicted of this crime, I too grieve with his wife for his loss.


    • Kristi Kille
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 13:37:36

      Hi, Maria!!

      I absolutely agree with you!! Sgt. Bales, and his beloved family, are truly victims of this war as well. The Army should never ever have deployed him. They are the ones who are truly responsible for what happened!! I feel so bad for this Sgt. and even his family. All I can do is pray for them and extend my Christian love to them.


  33. vc
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 05:56:44

    yea bc shes the real victim here


  34. Kristi Kille
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 00:16:21

    Hi, Lori!!

    Your letter is just so very beautiful!! I’m not a military wife . . . I’m just a civilian. My dad served in the Army back in the ’60’s, before I was born, and my oldest brother served in the Army in the 90’s. He was never deployed. But, God bless our troops for serving our country and God bless you military wives and families!!

    Now, I would like to post a little comment to Kari.

    Hi, Kari!!

    I am so sorry for everything that you and your family have gone through and will go through because of all this. I don’t know how true the media is about what your husband did. But, I read somewhere that he said that he does not remember doing any of this and I truly believe him. I truly believe that the military is in error for even deploying him again when they knew he had past injuries. What he’s seen and experienced is just unimaginable. God bless you, Kari, for being faithful to him and I highly encourage you to remain faithful to him because he’s going to need you now more than ever.

    I certainly wish that I can reach out to your husband now, out of true Christian love, to encourage him while he’s in prison. I certainly want to reach out to you and your family in true Christian love, Kari. I hope that they are treating him well in there. I can’t imagine how he must feel, knowing what happened, and what is happening as a result of that event. I can’t imagine how he must feel knowing that you’re out there, somewhere, suffering and hurting because of all this. I can’t imagine how you must feel when you’re constantly reminded of this from hearing and seeing it all over the news. I guess the best thing you can do is just ignore the media and pray to God, of course.

    You, your husband, and your children are definitely in my prayers.

    God bless you; God bless our troops (and their families); and God bless America!!!


  35. Ky Sims
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 22:01:14

    just wanted to add..Good Luck Monday..hold your head high..knowing with EVERYTHING in you that we are ALL behind you ! and your family !


  36. Brock
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 21:59:59

    Kari, you’ve been in my thoughts everyday since I first heard the news! I’ve tried to put myself in your place and understand everything that must be going on with your emotions these last two weeks but I know Im not even coming close. Its not fair for anyone to be put into a situation such as this. I hope the knowledge that your friends and family love and support you unconditionally offers comfort! Stay strong and positive as you always have done in life because you will get through this journey. I will be here to support you the entire way!


  37. Tara
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 21:24:22

    So very well put!


  38. Mely molina
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 20:50:42

    Dear Kari: I just want you to know that we are here thinking of you, the kids and bobby, that we are asking and praying for strength for you and your family, even thou the army took us in different paths we still kept in touch thru social networks I saw your kids grow up as you saw mine, only the wife of a soldier who has been gone so much can understand a little of what is to be in this life, stay strong my friend and know that you are not alone, we are with u even from far away!


  39. Cassandra Kerns
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 19:02:43

    I posted earlier and left out something about my husband for fear of him and myself being judged by people who wouldn’t understand or care to know the whole story. My husband is in the same prison at Fort Leavenworth as Kari’s husband and for that reason I have wanted to talk to this woman so desperately. To let her know that there is someone out there that wants to be there for her and understands. Obviously not on the same scale but to an extent. When he was transferred there from Fort Campbell I had no one to talk to that understood what I was going through. There was no one that would help me find out any information about where he was, whether he was safe, and what was going on. Everyone that I talked to from his unit, or from the Army in general treated me like a second class citizen because my husband made a mistake. I felt abandoned by the people that claim to support the familes. I understand how Kari feels in the sense of even if her husband did do the things that he is accused of, he is still the love of her life, the father of her children, her best friend and she knows a different man than the one he is being portrayed as by the media. I don’t know how to get in touch with her and this has been the closest I have been able to come to finding a way to reach out to her. If there is any way that you or anyone that has contacted you that is in touch with her could let her know that I am here for her and that I understand what she is going through I would appreciate it. I wish that I had had someone that understood what it was like to have the person that you love in prison and there being no one that would give you any information. So if she needs it I would like to be that person for her. I know that I would have made it through the past year a lot easier if I had someone to talk to that understood. If you are able email my address is [note:removed by editor. Cassandra, I will forward]. If there is any information that I have or can get that she needs I am more than willing to help her because like I said, I know how it feels to have no one in the Army wanting to tell you anything especially when all you want to know is that your husband is safe and being cared for in the best way possible.
    Thank You,


    • Cassandra Kerns
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 21:11:15

      If my post made it seem like I could get information regarding her husband that isn’t what I meant or wanted to imply. I was referring to contact information of someone she could talk to at the prison. I had a hard time finding any phone numbers for someone that I could call if I had any questions regarding my husband. I’m sorry if I made it seem like anything more than that.


    • Cindy Casey
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 09:47:26

      Bless you and your family. I am not in anyway affiliated with the military but I am appalled when I read about the lack of assistance to the families involved in situations like you and Kari are facing. It is upsetting to know that our country requires so much out of our young people and yet fail them so terribly when they arrive home. I feel at times so inept and don’t know what I can do to help change things. My prayers are for your strength as you go down the path you are on as well as for Kari. May you feel the closeness of God as you stand by your husband. I pray you might be able to contact Kari and be an encouragement to her and her family.

      Grace to you,
      Cindy Casey


  40. Shakila
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 18:34:36


  41. Susan Alexander
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 17:59:52

    Kari, I know you’ve gotten my emails (second hand obviously). Just wanted to reiterate that we are thinking of you and praying for you and Bobby. If there is anything I, Chris, or any of the former soldiers/wives from 1st PLT can do for you or Bobby, let us know. We are here for you anytime and support you completely.


    • Jeanette
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 20:31:35

      I second this. Jose and I are also here for you! As are many other Patriot wives current and former. Please. Never feel as though you are alone…


  42. Robert J. Myatt
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 17:42:03

    Dear Kari and family:
    As a retired 1SG my heart goes out to you and your family. No one should be in the situation your husband is in, nor should anyone be going back 3 or 4 times or more. Its a blessing to see so many supporting you and may there be even more to support your husband. Hold your head high yiou have given more for your country than most ever will. God bless and God keep.


  43. Jeanette
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 17:02:47

    Dearest Kari, if you’re reading this I want you to know I am thinking of you. Monday is a big day for you as you will be interviewed by Matt Lauer. I want to tell you what you told me in regards to the radio show… You will do great. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for you but we are ALL behind you! We have all tried endlessly to send messages of support to you. I will be watching and praying that all goes well as are the rest of the girls. Please give our love to the kids and Bobby if and when you speak to him. All his boys are behind him too. God bless you friend.


  44. Ky Sims
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 16:14:22

    Kari..uncertainty of what exactly to say has kept me from posting but i want you to know that even over here in Hawaii you have people that care about you! Army wives that feel the pain in your husband came back from KAF in Afghanistan last year..not the same man he left as…i cant imagine how you feel , how hurt, scared, confused & alone your heart must be..i pray that somehow you can find some peace in your children if even for a moment. Please know that we, as the spouses, are also Army Strong ! KNOW with all of your heart, NO MATTER THE OUTCOME, we are ALL here for you !! I am so sorry for how very much your heart hurts right now..wishing more than anything that you could just talk to him for even 5 minutes….take it day by day, moment by moment…knowing that Army wives & military spouses are family ! we are here whatever you need big or small ! Much Aloha & Many Prayers to you, the kids AND your husband !


  45. Joycelyn Flemming
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 15:12:35

    Toosad a story. We treat him so severly and still no indictment for the similar situation in Texas.


  46. Eddita Felt
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 13:14:06

    Dear Kari,

    I am so sorry that this has happened to your family, and to your husband, and to your relationship with your husband. I am praying for you and your children and your husband. I am praying for the families of the Afghanians who became the target of his need to get it out somehow.

    A good freind of mine who suffers from PTSD lost control 3 years ago and is in jail now for 9 years. He refused to believe he needed help, until it was too late. HIs wife’s response to the tragedy is to work to get Veterans courts started here in Maine. I pray that similarly something good will come out of your family’s ordeal that will help other soldier’s and their families to get the help when they need it before they hurt themselves or someone else.

    As military families we give up so much in order to help our loved one serve our country. Is it so much to ask that the military should give back to our soldiers by providing them all with guidance and de fragging that they need to be safe and psychologially whole again? God be with you Kari.
    Eddita Felt


  47. Christine
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 13:10:03

    I have no idea what it’s like to be the spouse of an member of our great military but please know that we are behind you and your family 100%. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your husband and family as you go throught this terrible ordeal.


  48. Lynie Hjelmstad
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 12:41:32

    My heart goes out to the Bales family and Ssgt Bales family. My still very good friend, and now exhusband, David is a Master Sgt and a 30+ year Army soldier.

    Kari, I am not certain how you will handle this horrible situation. I want to tell you that as a woman, wife, mother, I support whatever course you take. There are no easy answers, not logical direction and no clear paths to follow here. You are forging new ground through a nightmare so many of us have been afraid to voice.

    I hope that that this little message brings you comfort the tiniest bit of comfort and calm, and that message is this. No matter what you do, you have the support of at least one (and I suspect many more) woman, who supports you.

    It sort of goes without saying… but I will say it. If you need something, Kari- please let us know.


  49. Laura Trexler
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 12:01:49

    To Kari and all of you who have to deal with the hardship of sending a loved one off to a war zone, I’m sorry, thank you, I wish this wasn’t happening.


  50. john wilson
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 11:39:50

    Dear Kari I am a civilian father and my heart goes out to you and my prayers. I cannot imagine what happened to your husband that night, but I think our military is responsible for what happened that night, not him. they seem to think having another body on the front line is more important than the health of the soldier .I have 2 sons in military 1 in army who did tour in afganastan & 1 year in early Iraq war he suffered ptsd and still does because of what he dealt with, friends being killed and mamed by IEDs and sucide bombers. the other is still active duty marine. he did tour in Kuwait, Iraq & afganastan. he was diagnosed with ptsd and told he would not redeploy to combat. I think with all your husbands injuries and ptsd should never have been deployed to combat again. It is our governments fault for what happened not his. I am so sad for you your children and him . I sat here and read some of the letters to you and cried and I hope you know that most of the people in this country are behind you and prayig for you Bob and your children

    it is terrible to go thru because your husband wanted to serve his country and help protect it and now the goverment is turning on him.

    I will pray for him and you and your children



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