Rescue
Sgt. Reckless is the most celebrated warhorse in American history for a reason
"I believe an angel had to be riding Reckless since she was alone and without a marine to lead her. She wasn't just a horse. She was a Marine."
Rebecca Reid
07.27.21

How did a small mare sold outside a race track in Seoul, Korea for $250, become America’s greatest war horse?

In 1952, the United States Marine Corps paid $250 to a young Korean boy to purchase a young Mongolian horse. The boy was selling the mare for money to buy an artificial leg for his sister.

The horse’s humble beginning would eventually lead her to the front lines of the Korean War.

As if it were her destiny, the little horse took on this new role with grit and resilience.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

Her name was Reckless and she was more than just a horse. She was a Marine.

When the U.S. Marines purchased Reckless, they trained her as a packhorse to carry ammunition to the front lines for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines.

The Marines named her “Reckless” after the recoilless rifle ammunition she carried.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

Reckless was one of the troops.

The brave, intelligent mare developed a strong bond with her unit. She slept in the same tents and dined with the Marines. She became their trusted friend and during her multiple combat missions in the Korean War, she never once let them down.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

In no time at all, Reckless was making supply runs without a handler.

The fearless mare left her mark in history toward the end of the Korean War during the Battle of Outpost Vegas.

In one day she made 51 trips to deliver ammunition to the front lines and carried wounded soldiers to safety.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

She was awarded two Purple Hearts after being injured twice in battle.

Even after being injured, Reckless didn’t abandon her post or attempt to run off. She was committed, courageous and honorable just like a Marine.

She was specially trained to lie down under enemy fire and to avoid barbed wire. She was even taught hand signals.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

Reckless carried “nearly 9,000 back-breaking pounds of ammunition from the supply point to the gun teams.” – History.com

Robin Hutton wrote a book about the magnificent war horse titled, Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse. Hutton tells the story of this very unique American hero.

Reckless was the first animal ever to earn an official rank in the Marine Corps in April of 1954 and was promoted to sergeant before retiring in November of 1954.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

A hero till the end.

Reckless spent the rest of her days at California’s Camp Pendleton after receiving a hero’s homecoming. She meant so much to so many that when she passed away at the age of 20, she was buried with full military honors.

“She wasn’t a horse. She was a Marine,” Hutton said.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

Sgt. Reckless was honored years later by a fellow Marine.

A bronze statue of Reckless was unveiled at the Kentucky Horse Park on the 50th anniversary of her death.

Sgt. Harold E. Wadley of the US Marine Corps, who served with Reckless, was present at the ceremony to honor her valiant service.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

She was a fearless beauty that will never be forgotten.

YouTube screenshot - Marines
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Marines

Learn more about America’s most decorated warhorse in the 3 short videos below!

On Oct. 26, 2016, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton honored the life of Staff Sgt. Reckless, a courageous horse and exceptional Marine.Reckless served with 1st Marine Division during the Korean War and earned two purple hearts for her valiant efforts to provide supplies and ammunition to her fellow Marines.She became the first horse in the Marine Corps to participate in an amphibious landing.Semper Fidelis, Staff Sgt.

Posted by U.S. Marine Corps on Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sgt Reckless – The War Horse Hero

The unbelievable story of Sergeant Reckless 🎖A true hero of the Korean War and one of many horses who have served in the military across the world 🐴 #VeteransDay #RemembranceDay

Posted by World Horse Racing on Thursday, November 8, 2018

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Article Sources:
To learn more read our Editorial Standards.
Share this article
By Rebecca Reid
hi@sbly.com
Rebecca Reid is a contributor at SBLY Media.
Advertisement
Advertisement