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Buffalo Bob Kalsu – Gentle & Mighty Giant


101st Airborne Division artillery commander Bob Kalsu handles the ordnance at Fire Support Base Ripcord during the Vietnam War.

 

Long before “Buffalo Bob” Kalsu became a starting lineman and rookie of the year for the Buffalo Bills, the nickname reflected his thundering stride and symbolized the six-foot-three, two-hundred-fifty pounder’s determined character.

A beloved “gentle giant” in his native Del City, he became one of the greatest offensive linemen in OU football history. In 1967, he led the Sooners to a 10-1 record, Orange Bowl victory, and No. 2 national ranking. A cadet colonel and leader in the school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) as well, he gave his word to serve on active duty should that call come. In late 1968, it did.

All-American OU offensive tackle Bob Kalsu, #77 on the bottom of the pile, clears the way for Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens’ touchdown in the Sooners’ thrilling 1968 Orange Bowl victory over Tennessee.

 

By then, Vietnam War casualties were soaring and public support had faltered. Nearly everyone he knew—teammates, family members, the Bills’ organiz