Sergeant Reckless US Military
One of the most famous war horses ever, Reckless was a horse of Mongolian breed, owned by US military. She was bought in 1952 and trained by the United States Marine Corps.The little mare with the blaze had a big personality and was well loved and revered by her fellow Marines. She was known to stick her head in their tents for treats, occasionally sleep in the tents with the men, and eat scrambled eggs and drink beer alongside them. If she noticed she was different from her fellow soldiers, she definitely didn’t show it.Lieutenant General Randolph McC. Pate noted the camaraderie between the horse and men. “I first saw this little lady. . .when the [First Marine] Division was in reserve for a brief period,” he wrote. “I was surprised at her beauty and intelligence, and believe it or not, her esprit de corps. Like any other Marine, she was enjoying a bottle of beer with her comrades. She was constantly the center of attraction and was fully aware of her importance. If she failed to receive the attention she felt her due, she would deliberately walk into a group of Marines and, in effect, enter the conversation. The courageous mare had the duty of carrying antitank ammunition to the front lines. During the Battle of Outpost Vegas in March of 1953, Reckless is credited with carrying 9,000 pounds of 75mm recoilless rifle ammunition from the ammunition supply point to the front lines in 51 trips over 35 miles in a single day. She carried the ammunition up and down rugged terrain and hills, most of the time without a handler and through the battle zone with gun and cannon fire blazing around her. The smart and industrious mare was trained to avoid trip wires and to drop to the ground if caught under fire in the open. She was cut by shrapnel at least twice, once over her left eye and once on her flank, but neither injury slowed her down.
After the war, Reckless was brought back to the United States. Because of her bravery, the Marine Corps honored her with the rank of Staff Sergeant and nine other awards including two Purple Hearts and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. She was known for her intelligence and ability to take solo trips. During the Battle for Outpost Vegas in 1953, she made 51 solo trips in a single day. She was made a sergeant in 1954 and retired. Reckless was once selected as one of the 100 All-time American Heroes by Life Magazine. Reckless lived in retirement at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, in California. She died there on May 13, 1968, at 20 years old and was buried with full military honors. A bronze statue of her now stands at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.This Memorial Day, we should remember to honor and recognize the valiant horses that served alongside the brave men and women that we celebrate, for without them the history of the United States’s would be quite different.