"He took it really hard when girls would break up with him," Robillard said.
Robillard said he befriended Page more out of pity.
"He had no one," Robillard said.
To be selected for the psychological operations corps, he would have had to pass a battery of very difficult tests, Liebert said.
"These guys aren't just shining lights. They are beacons," he said.
Specialists train for 24 weeks before they are assigned. Page ultimately was promoted to sergeant, his military record shows.
The job of psy-ops specialists is to try and "get into the heads of the enemy," Liebert said.
Specialists are trained to win influence with the enemy and get them to surrender.
"The idea is to win the war with paper, not bullets," Robillard said.
Page's drinking eventually got him in trouble. He showed up for work drunk and was told to either accept treatment or resign, Robillard said.
He refused treatment and was "chaptered out," a procedure akin to firing, said Robillard and Fred Lucas, who also served with Page in the psy-ops corps.
"I wish now that we had tried hard to talk him into staying," Robillard said.
After leaving the Army, Page went to Denver. He lived with a woman there for a while but they broke up and Page lived for a time on the streets and got deeper into the white supremacist culture, Robillard said.
Robillard said Page visited him in Arkansas around 2000 and made a lot of racist remarks, which upset Robillard's wife.
"I could tell he wasn't right," Robillard said.
Robillard said he tried to talk to his friend, but Page wouldn't listen.
"I said, 'Why are you doing this? Why are you running with this crowd?' " Robillard said. "But Wade made a joke of it."
Page told him a strange story about how he had been wearing a sleeveless shirt and riding a bus in Denver. A little African-American child on the bus seemed afraid of Page, staring at the tattoos on his body.
"He talked about it like it hurt his feelings that the child was afraid of him," Robillard said. "It was just like he didn't get it. Here is someone that he supposedly hated that he was worried about how they perceived him."
Two years later, Page stopped by again on his way through town while he was working as a truck driver, operating out of North Carolina.
"He seemed good," Robillard said.
Page, active in the white supremacist music world, moved to the Milwaukee area late last year. He was living with his girlfriend, Misty Cook, a nursing student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who also was active in white supremacy groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate speech websites and organizations.
The two broke up in June, and Page moved to Cudahy where he rented a room from Kurt Weins.
Page revealed on his application that he needed an apartment because he had broken up with his live-in girlfriend in South Milwaukee, Weins recalled.
In mid-July, Page moved into an apartment that Weins owned in Cudahy.
Weins said Page showed no signs of being troubled. He fell behind on paying his rent but pledged in a July 30 text message to square up on $730 in back rent.
Page said he'd had a hectic week, apologized and said he'd pay the rent on Aug. 5, Weins said.
That was the day Page went on the murderous rampage at the temple, located down the street from where Cook worked as a waitress.
Robillard, now a warehouse supervisor in Portland, Ore., said he lost track of Page over the years but would occasionally look for information about his old Army pal.
Even as recently as three weeks ago, Robillard was checking the Internet for news of Page.
"He was heading in the wrong direction and, let's face it, I was worried something like this could happen."
(Ellen Gabler, Jim Nelson and Dave Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed to this report.)
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