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"…but you have to understand this - this was 1968, this was playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nobody knew who existed on the Pittsburgh Steelers at that time." (video interview, 00:15:02.0)

   Robert Patrick Bleier
Collection image
Rocky Bleier at time of interview
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division
Service Location: Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Riley, Kansas; Chu Lai, Vietnam
Rank: Specialist Four
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By late 1968, Robert "Rocky" Bleier had been a championship-winning player for Notre Dame and a draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But 1968 would also be the year his draft notice arrived, and he very quickly found himself in infantry training, with a one year tour in Vietnam ahead of him. Bleier would twice be wounded in the thigh and foot during the same engagement outside Hiep Duc. Such wounds might have ended his football career, but as soon as he was discharged, with shrapnel still in his foot, Bleier went back to training with the Steelers and played for the team throughout, what many consider, their greatest decade in football.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (44 min.)
More like this
»First, Serve: Athletes in Uniform
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Receiving his draft notice; training at Ft. Gordon, Georgia; shipping out to Vietnam. (01:09) Firefight in which he was wounded. (01:32) Wounded for a second time, same engagement. (01:22)
Experience as a football player in the military. (00:54) Recovery from wounds; getting back into shape for football; going on injured reserve for two years. (01:47) Playing for the Steelers in 1974 at the start of their Super Bowl win streak. (01:12)

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  October 26, 2011
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