THE soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians was committed to his career as a stock trader until the 9/11 attacks when he gave it all up and enlisted in the army.
Army Captain Chris Alexander, who spent three years as Robert Bales' platoon leader, spoke out in praise of Bales' life-changing decision to volunteer: "I've always admired him for that - he had a good thing going, and he dropped it to serve his country."
Bales joined the Army two months after 9/11 - and before that had studied business at Ohio State University for three years but didn't graduate.
He went on to found an investment company called Spartina Investments Inc. in Doral, Florida with his brother Mark Bales.
Although the business was struggling, Captain Alexander said Bales had chosen to give up his bright prospects to join the Army in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.