Honoring Reckless

Although the debate about women serving on the front lines still rages, one female earned the respect of the U.S. Marine Corp some 60 years ago. During the “Battle of Outpost Vegas,” a 5-day battle in March of 1953, Staff Sergeant Reckless made 51 solo trips while under heavy fire transporting nearly 5 tons of ammunition and explosives to the front lines. She outsmarted the enemy, shielded trapped Marines, and carried injured soldiers to safety. So, just who was this heroic female?

Mare-a-torious. Recruited into the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Antitank Company, Fifth Marine Regiment in 1952, Reckless commanded attention, yet offered her loyalty to the unit with which she served. The chestnut mare, purchased for $250, was smart, learning how to get in and out of her trailer by herself, take cover from enemy fire, and move ammunition to bunkers behind enemy lines.  For her invaluable service SSgt. Reckless was decorated with at least 8 distinguished medals including 2 Purple Hearts, which she proudly wore on her scarlet and gold saddle blanket.[1]

Horsing-around. Reckless didn’t always follow Marine protocol.  As Platoon Sergeant Joseph Latham noted, “She’d eat anything you’d give her.” Reckless was known to eat scrambled eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, chocolate, and steal beer or Coke if she got the chance. Reckless sometimes ate to show her annoyance, like chomping on a bush hat presented to her by an Australian Unit or poker chips taken from Latham for his lack of attention that evening. [2]

War Hero. Named one of Americas 100 Greatest Heroes, Life Magazine featured SSgt Reckless alongside greats like Washington, Lincoln, and Mother Teresa. On July 27th, during the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice signing and in honor of Korean War veterans, a bronze statue of SSgt. Reckless will be unveiled at the National Museum of the Marine Corp immortalizing the horse many believe to be the greatest equine soldier in history.

“A horse gallops with its lungs, perseveres with its heart, and wins with its character.”

 ~ Frederico Tesio

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