The True Story of Sgt. Reckless
Imagine being transported back to 1953, overseas, and placed in the heat of the first major war since WWII.
It is four months before the end of the war and imagine being in the heat of a 5-day battle, among fellow Marine brothers. The enemy’s goal was to turn Outpost Vegas into a field of fallen soldiers as they planned a forward attack to obtain a better position. The battle became known as the bloodiest battle in the Korean War with over 1,000 marines and over 2,000 Chinese soldiers perishing for their efforts.
The Korean War was often known as the Forgotten War as America helped the South Koreans when invaded by the North Koreans. This was toward be beginning of the Cold War as America and western countries fought against tensions from communist governments.
Imagine being in the midst this bloody week. Moral is low as you are hunkered down in a trench. The enemy is besieging you with heavy artillery and bombs. But hope could be found. It came in the way of a 750 lbs package called Sgt. Reckless.
You may have heard of the book, movie, and stage play ‘War Horse‘ before. But although originally a children’s book, the story of a kid trying to bring his horse home safely from the battlefields of WWI, is not based on a true story. But that doesn’t mean we are without true heroic horses that helped our military in combat before.
Last week, Marlene’s sister attended the dedication ceremony of the bronze statute of Sgt. Reckless at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. The story of Sgt. Reckless is truly incredible and needed to be shared.
Dedication Ceremony of Sgt. Reckless Memorial at Camp Pendleton
In the midst of this bloody combat, Sgt. Reckless was a moral booster for the men under heavy fire. Reckless was bought by a marine for $250 in Korea. A Korean kid had to sell his horse so that he could buy a prosthetic leg for his sister who lost it by a land mine.
Reckless’ sacrifice not only helped this Korean family but soon became memorable for the Marine platoon for her appetite alone. The men would give her pancakes and scrambled eggs in the morning and she would eat anything in sight including chocolate bars, cakes, hats, blankets, poker chips… She didn’t like being ignored.
But her already memorable antics would become legendary during the Battle of Outpost Vegas. Sgt. Reckless braved rough terrain and enemy fire to bring much needed relief and supplies for her fellow marines, often by herself.
From the official website dedicated to Sgt. Reckless, sgtreckless.com, they described her heroics during the battle:
“During this five-day battle, on one day alone she made 51 trips from the Ammunition Supply Point to the firing sites, 95% of the time by herself. She carried 386 rounds of ammunition (over 9,000 pounds – almost FIVE TONS! — of ammunition), walked over 35 miles through open rice paddies and up steep mountains with enemy fire coming in at the rate of 500 rounds per minute. And as she so often did, she would carry wounded soldiers down the mountain to safety, unload them, get reloaded with ammo, and off she would go back up to the guns. She also provided a shield for several Marines who were trapped trying to make their way up to the front line. Wounded twice, she didn’t let that stop or slow her down.”
Imagining yourself in the middle of a battlefield is tough enough, but imagine seeing this sight! This remarkable horse was not considered a horse, but a Marine, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant under the Marine Corps. Beloved by all, she was promoted twice and earned two purple hearts, a Good Conduct Medal, and many other medals. She was retired in 1960 at Camp Pendleton and was buried with full honors at Camp Pendleton in 1968.
48 years later, she is still honored as a great Marine with her likeness cast in Bronze to be forever remembered.
This is the true story of Sgt. Reckless.
Marlene’s Sister provided us with memorabilia from the dedication ceremony. The program had many fantastic pictures of Sgt. Reckless.
May we always remember all our Marines that have committed their lives, past and present, to our country and our protection. We remember them and all branches during the month of Veteran’s Day.