Sixty-four years ago, a Marine officer serving in Korea purchased a small mare to assist his recoilless rifle platoon. On Wednesday, October 26, the anniversary of that purchase, a monument was dedicated at Camp Pendleton to that horse, which had become America’s greatest war hero horse. This is a short video (<7 mins) I took of those ceremonies.
The Marines named the horse “Reckless,” a play on the name of the weapons they used. During one five-day battle, Reckless made 51 round-trips on a single day from the ammunition supply point to the firing sites, carrying several 24-pound shells and nearly always under fire. On the return trips, Reckless carried wounded Marines to safety. She was wounded twice that day.
Reckless was brought to California and was formally made a Sergeant in the Marines in 1954. She was promoted to Staff Sergeant in 1959 in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton that featured a 19-gun salute and a 1,700-man parade of Marines from her wartime unit.
A Life Magazine special issue included SSgt Reckless among America’s 100 greatest war heroes.
At Camp Pendleton, SSgt Reckless produced four foals before and after her “retirement” in 1960. SSGt Reckless died in 1968 and is buried at Stepp Stables on base.
The Tri-City and Inland Empire councils, on Tuesday, honored nine Marines and Sailors from Camp Pendleton nominated by their units as Enlisted Father of the Year.
The nominees and members of their families, as well as command representatives, attended the awards luncheon at Iron Mike’s, Pacific View Event Center, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Offering remarks and assisting in the presentation of awards were BGen Edward Banta, Commanding General, MCI West/MCB Camp Pendleton, and SgtMaj Julio Meza, MCIW/MCBCP Sergeant Major.
Honorees, in alphabetical order:
- SgtMaj Christopher Adams, USMC, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39
- Sgt Matthew Annable, USMC, Headquarters and Support Battalion
- SSgt Ryan Farish, USMC, Security and Emergency Services Battalion
- SSgt Reginald Glenn, USMC, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron
- LS1 Cenon Lu II, USN, Medical Logistics Company
- HM1 Miguel Murillo, USN, Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group
- Sgt Michael Parker, USMC, Headquarters and Support Battalion
- AE2 Richard Smallwood, USN, Marine Aircraft Group 1, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing
- Cpl Daniel Taylor, USMC, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division
Also among those attending were: Col Joseph Craft, Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion; SgtMaj Michael Saucedo, Headquarters and Support Battalion Sergeant Major; Edward Langmaid, President, San Diego/Imperial Valley Area, Navy League of the United States; Michelle Langmaid, National Director, Navy League; Bob Berman, Vice President, Sea Services, San Diego Council, Navy League; and Maggie Meza, wife of SgtMaj Meza.
Organizations that assisted in sponsoring the event were:
This was the second Enlisted Father of the Year Awards program, in what we hope will continue as an annual tradition. The event joins Navy League programs in the San Diego area that recognizes and honors service members who are mothers as well as spouses of service members.
As part of the Navy League’s commitment to programs that promote to youth the values of our sea services, the Tri-City Council supports the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (MCJROTC) units sponsored by Oceanside Unified School District.
Yesterday, those units held their annual awards ceremony at El Camino High School. Council president Bill McDonald had the honor and privilege to present the Navy League’s Theodore Roosevelt Youth Medal to two outstanding cadets.
Thanks to council member Victoria Black for attending the awards ceremonies, and taking pictures.
In addition to the Oceanside MCJROTC units, the council supports Gunfighter Squadron, US Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and Training Ship TopGun, Navy League Cadet Corps, based at MCAS Miramar.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901-09), and previously Assistant Secretary of the Navy, enthusiastically supported the founding of the Navy League in 1902. The Navy League’s Theodore Roosevelt Youth Medal was established to honor those young people who best exemplify Roosevelt’s values of energy, spirit, competition, and fair play.
It is a pleasure to recognize these outstanding young people, and inspiring to see so many participate in these programs.
Joined by members of Gunfighter Squadron, US Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and Training Ship TopGun, Navy League Cadet Corps, the Council offered information about the Navy League and programs it supports locally, including these cadets, to the throngs at Fallbrook’s Avocado Festival yesterday.
The cadets, all in uniform, were especially effective visual communicators and they made personal contact with hundreds of festival attendees.
Many thanks to those cadets and adult leaders who helped out. CDR Donn Murray SC, USN (Retired), commanding officer of the cadet units, joined by unit instructors Carole Stockbridge and Don Burns, spent much of the day communicating with the public and assisting cadets.
Bravo Zulu to all who participated.
Members of the Inland Empire and Tri-City Councils of Navy League visited several Navy units Friday, April 8, in San Diego. Final stop on the tours was USS Pasadena (SSN-752), as seen above. Arrangements were made by Bill Lauper, CDR USN (Retired), president of the Inland Empire Council, and at right in the photo.
Here’s a short — just under nine minutes — video of the day’s activities. The day started in Coronado with a tour of San Diego harbor aboard one of Assault Craft Unit ONE’s boats, moved to Naval Air Station North Island to visit HSM-35, then just across the air station to USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), and finished on USS Pasadena. As you’ll see, the tour group earlier in the day was larger than the group posed on the gangplank above and included several members of the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
Bill Lauper has been diligent in arranging such tours and making them available to members of the Navy League. Tri-City Council is working closely with Bill and the Inland Empire Council to engage in collaborative ventures, including these tours. Because of the operational activities of these active duty units, such tours often come together on short notice and are during the week, which limits accessibility. Please let us know if you would like to be on a list of those to be notified when such tours are available.
Charles “Chuck” Baumbach, 73, former president of the council and its mainstay in many roles for many years, died January 14.
There will be a brief service Thursday, January 28, at 1030 at Miramar National Cemetery, 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego CA 92122. Also scheduled is a memorial service aboard USS Midway, Friday, January 29, at noon. Chuck was a docent at the USS Midway Museum for many years.
He leaves his wife of 49 years, Patricia; sisters Carol and Jean; three children, including George, an active council member; and six grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in the name of “Charles G. Baumbach” be made to the USS Midway Museum. You can donate online.
If you wish to contribute by check, make it payable to “USS Midway Museum” and please note in the memo line that it is in memory of Charles G. Baumbach. Mail your check to USS Midway Museum, ATTN: Development Dept., 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.
For many years, Marine Corps units have invited spouses and family members of Marines to spend a day on base, to get a safe, condensed sense of what their Marines do. They used to be called “Jayne Wayne Days,” befitting for how the Hollywood actor John Wayne “was” a Marine. Today, with many more women marines and a broader range of participants, it’s now a more neutral “J Wayne Day.”
On 28 August 2015, two battalions and the Marine Corps Air Station at Camp Pendleton sponsored a “J Wayne Day.” Members of the Navy League were invited to join family members and others for a day-long set of activities. Joining Bill McDonald from the Navy League of the United States Tri-City Council were two staff members of our community affiliate, Navy Federal Credit Union: Joseph Fant and Zina Ruetskaya.
Here’s a brief video from that day. (You’ll see Ms. Ruetskaya in a red NFCU shirt.)
Let us honor those who have served, and serve, our country this Veterans Day.