SEATTLE -- A former platoon leader for the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians says the allegations are "100 percent out of character" for the man, whom he described as a "very solid" noncommissioned officer who has saved other soldiers' lives.
Army Capt. Chris Alexander was Robert Bales' platoon leader during a deployment to Iraq. He says Bales worked as a stock trader before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks motivated him to serve his country by enlisting in the Army.
Alexander says while deployed, Bales always made sure his team was briefed on their mission and their equipment was checked.
He described one incident in which Bales' unit was driving in Mosul and Bales spotted a man aiming a rocket-propelled grenade at them. Bales shouted to warn the unit, then shot the man as he fired the RPG, causing it to sail over the unit's vehicle. The wounded shooter fled and was later detained as he sought treatment at a hospital.
Alexander says, "There's no doubt (Bales) saved lives that day."