MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - U.S. Army veteran and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier will serve as the grand marshal of the 2020 Military Appreciation Days Parade on Farrow Parkway in Myrtle Beach, city officials announced Wednesday.
The parade will take place on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
According to a press release, this will be the second time Bleier has served as grand marshal, have previously held the position in 2013.
A 1968 graduate of Notre Dame University, Bleier was drafted by the Steelers in the 16th round, the release stated. As his first season ended, he was drafted again by the U.S. Army in December 1968, putting his football career on hold.
Bleier volunteered to serve in Vietnam, arriving there in May 1969 with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, according to city officials. On Aug. 20, 1969, his platoon ran into an ambush, and his legs were seriously wounded by rifle fire and grenade fragments.
The U.S. Army Specialist 4 was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Bleier survived the injuries but could barely walk, and doctors advised that he would never play football again, the release stated.
A year later, Bleier reported to the Steelers’ training camp but didn’t make the starting roster. Over the next two years, he fought back, successfully rejoining the Steelers’ line-up in 1972, according to the press release.
By 1974, he had earned a starting spot as a running back for a team that won four Super Bowls. Bleier even caught the go-ahead touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw in Super Bowl XIII.
Bleier retired after the 1980 season with a career total of 3,865 rushing yards, 136 receptions and 25 touchdowns, the release stated.