I just returned from a work related trip to another FOB (Forward Operating Base). Said FOB is located south of Baghdad and is called "Kalsu". When I first heard that name, I kept wondering to myself where I had heard it before. Once I arrived, there was a large rock at the FOB with the genesis of its name.
1LT Bob Kalsu: The only professional football player to be killed during the Vietnam War. Bob was born in Oklahoma City, OK and raised in Del City, OK. He was an All-American lineman at the University of Oklahoma. He was an 8th round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills and started every game for the Bills in 1968. Bob was sent to Vietnam the following year as an Artillery Officer, fulfilling his ROTC obligation from college. In 1970 Bob Kalsu was killed during a mortar attack at his operating base near the A Shau Valley.
Where is the connection to me? I was raised in Midwest City, OK, a suburb of OKC. Midwest City's town boundary "butts up" next to Del City, OK. Del City was our "rival" school in most all sporting events. My wife of 17 years is actually from Del City and attended the same high school as Bob Kalsu. In fact, Del City's football stadium is named "Kalsu Stadium" in honor of Bob.
Many of you know about Pat Tillman and his death in Afghanistan. From a historical standpoint, many "celebrities" and public figures have served our country and have given their lives in its defense. Aside from the public recognition of these individuals...they are the same as every other servicemember who has served in war. With that being said, every servicemember who gives their lives in the service of our nation and its principles....should be honored with as much zeal and fervor as any celebrity soldier.
My trip went well and I am still pondering the interesting connection that presented itself. On a separate note; Kalsu was very warm compared to Baghdad. I posted a picture of a thermometer outside one of the buildings at FOB Kalsu. Remember...it's only May. Wait until August.
R, K and G...I miss and love you. Oklahomans are great people!