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    COS Kalsu namesake’s family to receive base flag

    CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – On a sand swept day, a small gathering of five senior ranking Soldiers took place. A flag was passed from one hand to another.

    Lt. Col. David Northridge, the deputy commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and Sgt. Maj. Robert Leimer, the Ironhorse Brigade’s operations sergeant major, presented a flag to Maj. Andrew Ballenger, the executive officer for the 1st Squadron, 180th Cavalry Regiment, Oklahoma Army National Guard, during a ceremony on behalf of the Kalsu family, Dec 4.

    “This is a great opportunity to give back to the family of one of our Soldiers. It is a small gesture, but shows that 1st Lt. Kalsu and his family’s sacrifices are not forgotten,” Northridge said.
    Ballenger will give the flag to Jill Kalsu Horning, the sister of 1st Lt. Robert Kalsu, the only active National Football League player killed during the Vietnam War.

    The flag was flown over Contingency Operating Station Kalsu, a base named after 1st Lt. Kalsu.

    James Robert Kalsu was born on April 13, 1945 in Oklahoma City, Okla. He attended Del City High School in Del City, Okla. Afterward, Kalsu attended the University of Oklahoma and joined the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps while also playing on the school football team. There, he was recognized as an All-American offensive tackle. After college, the New York Buffalo Bills drafted Kalsu in 1968.

    Kalsu started in nine NFL games for the Buffalo Bills in 1968 and was later named Rookie of the Year.

    Kalsu was called to duty by his nation in September of 1969 and soon received orders to Vietnam. He arrived in Southeast Asia a few months later. At the time, his wife, Jan Kalsu McLauchlin, was six months pregnant with their son and his daughter, Jill, was a few months old.

    Kalsu was assigned to Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. He was stationed at Fire Support Base Ripcord in the A Shau Valley, Vietnam and was killed in action on July 21, 1970, at age 25.

    COS Kalsu was originally occupied by the 105th Military Police Company a New York National Guard Unit, a unit who shares the same home state as the NFL team Kalsu played on.

    “This is a way I can help show gratitude to the Kalsu family, who themselves sacrificed and who are heroes in their own right. It is only a very small token of appreciation for someone whom every American citizen owes a great debt,” Ballenger said.

    Maj. Ballenger said he is also an alumnus from the University of Oklahoma and as such, is especially proud to be part of this event.

    Leimer said that Kalsu’s selfless service to his nation and his choice to serve is very admirable, especially when Kalsu could have chosen a different life. He went on to comment that Kalsu’s sacrifices are shared by Soldiers who fight in today’s conflicts.

    The citation presented with the flag reads: “The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division gratefully presents these colors to the family of 1LT Robert Kalsu. This flag was flown in the face of the enemy over Contingency Operating Station Kalsu, Iraq, by the Officers, NCOs, and soldiers of the Ironhorse Brigade during Operating New Dawn 11-12, in honor of the Kalsu family.”



    Date Taken: 12.07.2011
    Date Posted: 12.21.2011 12:16
    Story ID: 81647
    Location: CAMP BUEHRING, KW 

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