‘She wasn’t a horse. She was a Marine.’

reckless5Sixty-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.

reckless6Reckless 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.

You can find much more information about SSgt Reckless at SgtReckless.com and on Wikipedia.