Rocky Bleier

Rocky Bleier at home in Mt. Lebanon, 2015

The Senator John Heinz History Center will host Mt. Lebanon resident Rocky Bleier for a special program at 7 p.m. July 8.

Fighting Back

Rocky Bleier signs copies of "Fighting Back: Special Edition."

Presented in conjunction with the History Center’s The Vietnam War: 1945-1975 exhibit and the new edition of Bleier’s autobiography, “Fighting Back,” the program will explore the story of Pittsburgh’s best-known Vietnam War veteran.

Drafted twice in 1968, first by the Pittsburgh Steelers and then by the U.S. Army, Bleier was seriously wounded by rifle and grenade fire while serving in Vietnam. After earning a Bronze Star and returning home, Bleier worked himself from the injured reserve, to the taxi squad, to the active roster and then, in 1974, to a starting position in the Steelers’ backfield, helping the team to four Super Bowl championships in the 1970s.

During the program at the History Center, Bleier will be joined by friends and associates to share inspiring stories from throughout his career:

  • Larry Richert, host of KDKA Radio Morning News
  • John Banaszak, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and three-time Super Bowl champion defensive end for Steelers
  • Jon Kolb, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman (1969-1981) and a personal trainer who works extensively with veterans injured in the line of duty
  • Dr. Ben Stahl, president and chief executive officer of the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania
  • Samuel W. Black, director of the African American Program at the Heinz History Center and lead curator for The Vietnam War: 1945-1975 exhibit
Rocky Bleier in Vietnam

Rocky Bleier in Vietnam (Photo courtesy of Senator John Heinz History Center)

Following the program, Bleier will sign copies of “Fighting Back,” which will be available for purchase.

In addition, those in attendance will have after-hours access to The Vietnam War: 1945-1975 exhibit, which tells the deeply personal stories of the men and women who were impacted by the war, from the home front to the front lines. Photos of Bleier in Vietnam, as well as his Bronze Star, are on display.

Admission to the program is $15 for general admission and free for veterans and active-duty service members. To register, visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org/events.