Remembering Former Football Player James Robert Kalsu on Memorial Day

The life of former football player Bob Kalsu who was killed in action in Vietnam.

Photo Courtesy of Sooner Sports

This weekend there will be many articles posted from many different sources about members of the Armed Forces who died serving their country. You may see some on former Arizona Cardinals player Pat Tillman who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Any article on the subject is important as is this article about James Robert (Bob) Kalsu.

If you have not heard of Bob Kalsu I would not be surprised. Kalsu was an offensive lineman who played for Oklahoma in college. He was an All-American and in his senior year, the Sooners won the Orange Bowl after completing a 10 – 1 season. He was drafted in the eighth round of the NFL/AFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.

As a member of the Bills in 1968 Kalsu was the starting guard. The Bills were 1 – 12 – 1 in 1968 partially due to a rash of injuries to their quarterbacks. Jack Kemp and Tom Flores were injured for the entirety of the season while Dan Darragh, Kay Stephenson and Ed Rutkowski all spent time at quarterback that year. While the team struggled, Kalsu did a good job blocking and was named the team’s rookie of the year.

After his rookie campaign, he joined the Army and was part of the 101st Airborne Division. In July of 1970, his unit was involved in the Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord in the Thua Thien Province of South Vietnam. The battle lasted 23 days during which 75 US servicemen were killed, Kalsu among them.

Like many, Kalsu gave up his life fighting for our wonderful country. If you ever get the opportunity to go to the Vietnam War Memorial, go to panel 08W and checkout line 38 and you will see Kalsu’s name amongst the myriad of others. They all deserve our respect and admiration. This Memorial Day, while enjoying time with your family and friends, please take a moment to think about those who perished serving our country. May their memories be a blessing to all.

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