A beer-guzzling, four-legged American hero who bravely transported ammunition and carried wounded Marines to safety under enemy fire in the Korean War is being honored with the dedication of a bronze statue Wednesday at California’s Camp Pendleton.
Staff Sgt. Reckless, a war horse who served with the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was bought for $250 at a race track in Seoul during the war.
She was taught by Marines to walk over trip wires, avoid incoming enemy fire and deliver huge packs of ammunition during battle.
In the Battle of Outpost Vegas in March 1953, she made 51 trips in one day to the front lines, carrying more than 9,000 pounds of ammunition over 35 miles of terrain, according to a website set up by Robin Hutton, the author of a book on Sgt. Reckless.
“It’s difficult to describe the elation and the boost in morale that little white-faced mare gave Marines,” Sgt. Maj. James E. Bobbitt recalled of the battle.
Reckless was energized by a diet of scrambled eggs, candy bars and beer, the website says. She died in 1968 and was buried with full military honors at Camp Pendleton.
Her heroics during the war earned her two purple hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation with bronze star, the National Defense Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Korea Medal, a Navy Unit Commendation, a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and the Dickin Medal, according to the Marine Corps.
Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, was scheduled to be joined Wednesday by Korean War Veterans who served with Reckless in dedicating the statue at the California base.
The statue unveiled Wednesday will be similar to one that was dedicated to the horse in 2013 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.