Sgt. Reckless: Two Purple Hearts
update November 12, 2018
A veteran said, “she’s not a horse, she’s a Marine,” at Camp Pendleton during the celebration of a special wartime hero.
The military dedicated a bronze statue to Staff Sergeant Reckless in California.
Robin Hutton donated the piece. She says she learned about Reckless in 2006, but there was little information available. Hutton has made it her mission to keep the mare’s legacy alive. She authored the New York Times Bestseller “Sgt Reckless: America’s War Horse,” published in 2014.
The book details how Reckless bravely battled next to some of America’s finest men during the Korean War. The mare is credited with saving lives by carrying wounded Marines off the battlefield to safety.
It was 1952 when Lt. Eric Pedersen paid $250 to a Korean boy for the chestnut mare with three socks.
Reckless carried ammunition to the front lines for the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines. It was Reckless’s job to go toward enemy fire. The tough mare trudged across the deadly rice paddies and up the steep 45-degree mountain trails that led to the firing sites.
“It’s difficult to describe the elation and the boost in morale that little white-faced mare gave Marines as she outfoxed the enemy bringing vitally needed ammunition up the mountain,” Sgt. Maj. James E. Bobbitt recalled.
The small mare with a brave spirit was only 13.1 hh, but her personality was as big as her heart. The Marines spoiled her with extra care and treats. They fed her everything from pancakes and eggs – with coffee – to chocolate bars.
The military honored Reckless with two Purple Hearts and a bevy of other medals. She wore them proudly on her red and gold blanket, along with a French Fourragere that the 5th Marines earned in WW1.
Reckless retired in 1960 and had three foals. She died in 1968.
The sculpture was created by artist Jocelyn Russell.