Accused soldier recalled in Ohio as genial star

DAN SEWELL Associated Press Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The soldier being held in the gunning down of Afghan civilians is remembered by people who knew him growing up in Ohio as a good-natured, smart student who was a key player on a high school football team that included a future NFL player.

Those who knew Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales as a teenager are stunned to hear him accused of the shooting of 16 Afghans.

Steve Berling was a teammate of Bales' in the early 1990s at the high school in the blue-collar Cincinnati suburb of Norwood. He calls the allegations "some crazy stuff." He and Bales were all-league players on a team that starred Marc Edwards, who played for Notre Dame and NFL teams.

Berling says Bales also helped care for an autistic young person.