Rocky Bleier thought he made peace with what happened in a rice paddy in Vietnam on Aug. 20, 1969. What the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back didn’t have though was closure until a trip back, 50 years later.
Bleier’s story remains one of perseverance. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 16th round in 1968 only to be drafted into the U.S. Army during his rookie season. Three months after being deployed, Bleier was shot through his thigh and suffered a grenade blast where shrapnel severely damaged his right foot and both legs when his “Charlie Company” unit was ambushed during a recovery operation in the Hiep Duc Valley. Bleier would later be named a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, as well as a multi Super Bowl Champion.