Bob Kalsu

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Bob Kalsu
Date of birth (1945-04-13)April 13, 1945
Place of birth Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Date of death July 21, 1970(1970-07-21) (aged 25)
Place of death Thua Thien, South Vietnam 
Career information
Position(s) Guard
College Oklahoma
NFL draft 1968 / Round: 8 / Pick 199
Career history
As player
1968 Buffalo Bills
Career stats
Military career
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1968–1970
Rank US-O2 insignia.svg 1st Lieutenant
Unit 101st Airborne Division 101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Bronze Star
Purple Heart

James Robert "Bob" Kalsu (April 13, 1945 – July 21, 1970) was an All-American tackle at the University of Oklahoma and an eighth-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League in 1968.

Kalsu was a starting guard in 1968. He played the entire season and was the Bills' team rookie-of-the-year.[1] Following the 1968 season, to satisfy his Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) obligation, he entered the Army as a Second Lieutenant and arrived in Vietnam in November 1969 as part of the 101st Airborne Division. He was killed in action on July 21, 1970 when his unit came under enemy mortar fire at FSB Ripcord near the A Shau Valley.[2] His family, out of respect, refused to talk in detail about the circumstances surrounding his death.

When he had left for Vietnam, Lieutenant Kalsu had to say goodbye to his wife, Jan, and his daughter Jill. On July 23, 1970, two days after his death, Jan Kalsu gave birth to his son, James Robert Kalsu Jr, at the Kalsu home in Oklahoma City. Mrs. Kalsu was informed of her husband's death only hours later. Kalsu and former Cleveland Brown Don Steinbrunner were the only professional football players to lose their lives in the Vietnam War.


  • FOB Kalsu in Babil, Iraq, was named after him.
  • In 1999, NFL Films produced a feature on Kalsu that was nominated for an Emmy Award.[2]
  • In 2000, the Buffalo Bills added Kalsu's name to the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.[2]
  • In 2002, the replacement company at Fort Campbell was named in honor of him – 1LT J. Robert Kalsu Replacement Company.[2]
  • Del City High School's football stadium bears his name.
  • There is a CrossFit Work Out of the Day (WOD) named in his honor.[3]

See also


  1. Rockin’ the Rockpile: The Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, p.567, Jeffrey J. Miller, ECW Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-55022-797-0
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Rockin’ the Rockpile, p.513

External links