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Friday, February 19, 2016
Rocky Bleier, Army Vietnam Veteran 4 Time Super Bowl Champ
Vietnam Veteran overcomes war injuries to win four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers
Department of Veterans Affairs
February 19, 2016
Secretary Bob McDonald invited Rocky Bleier, Army Vietnam Veteran, Pittsburgh Steelers star and four-time Super Bowl Champion, to the VA to share his gripping story of courage on the battlefields of Vietnam and his time on America’s football fields.
A year after his 1968 rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bleier was drafted for the second time; he entered the U.S. Army in December 1968 during the Vietnam War. Bleier was a squad grenadier and operated a 40mm M79 grenade launcher with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade.
He was in Vietnam for only three months when he was wounded on a patrol when his platoon was ambushed in a rice paddy near Heip Duc. He took a bullet in his left thigh moments before a grenade sent shrapnel through his right leg, removing part of his right foot. Bleier was evacuated to an aid station in Da Nang, Vietnam, to recover from his injuries before being transferred to Tokyo then back to the United States. His doctors told him that he would never play football again.
It was at the field aid station in Da Nang where he met a Veteran that changed his perspective on life. Across from him was a young soldier, a triple amputee who lost his left arm and both legs. Every day before that soldier left for therapy, he’d stop at each bed in the ward, including Bleier’s, to give them words of encouragement.