Posts Tagged ‘war hero’

The Real-Life Rocky

February 20, 2010

Rocky Bleier, home from Vietnam, is introduced at a Pittsburgh game as a former Steeler

Before the end of his first season in the NFL, running back Rocky Bleier was drafted and shipped over to Vietnam, where he served with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade.

On August 20, 1969, while on patrol in Heip Duc, Bleier was shot in the left thigh when his platoon was ambushed in a rice paddy. Bleier’s day was about to get a whole lot worse. In the above ESPN video, Bleier recalls what happened four hours later: With his unit nearly surrounded and heavily outnumbered, he saw a grenade flying through the air.

It hits my commanding officer right on the back. He scrambles up to crouch away, and it bounces off and rolls to where now I am lying. And so I get up and jump to get out of the way, and as I do, it rolls right underneath me and I’m standing on top of it, and it blows up. Boom! through my right foot and my right knee and into my groin.

Bleier was later awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. In October 1969, home (more…)