Robert Patrick "Rocky" Bleier played as halfback for the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise of the National Football League for the 1968 season, and again from 1971 to 1980. The career break was due to his being drafted into the U.S. Army. Once drafted, he volunteered for duty in South Vietnam and served as a squad grenadier for the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. He was wounded in action twice, in quick succession: an enemy rifle bullet struck him in the left thigh, and while he was immobile, an enemy fragmentation grenade detonated nearby, sending shrapnel into his lower right leg. He lost part of his right foot in the blast. Doctors told him he would never play football again.
He did rejoin the Steelers, however, at the personal invitation of the team's owner, and he toiled to regain a position on the active roster. In 1974, after three seasons back on the team, he earned a spot in the starting lineup. He played in the first four Steeler Super Bowl victories in '74, '75, '78, and '79, an unprecedented feat by the Steelers that was recognized on a stamp in the 1970s pane of the "Celebrate the Century" series (Scott 3189e, "Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowls").
For this cover, I paired Scott 3189e with Scott 3188g, also from the "Celebrate the Century" series, which remembers the Vietnam War in the 1960s pane. My cachet is a photograph of Rocky Bleier wearing his four Super Bowl rings: the logos of the four Super Bowls in which he played for the winning Steelers — IX, X, XIII, and XIV — as well as the logo of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, surround him. It is cancelled with a WILKPEX 2016 pictorial postmark from Monroeville, Pennsylvania.