Friday, June 6, 2014

Sergeant Reckless, a horse of course

They called her Sergeant Reckless, a brave female of Mongolian descent. Brought into the United States Marine Corps in 1952, she was trained to carry supplies for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.. Serving in numerous combat actions during the Korean War, she soon became an invaluable member of the corps.

Sergeant Reckless was a horse.

Sergeant Reckless with Sgt Latham, public domain image
The mare had once been a race horse who was purchased from a Korean stableboy for $250. The boy used the funds to purchase an artificial leg for his sister. The horse found a new home and was quickly elevated to troop mascot. Given the run of the camp, she’d make herself at home in the marine tents during inclement weather and she had a reputation for eating just about anything put before her including beer and scrambled eggs.

She was trained to make supply runs where she’d carry ammunition and other supplies to various troops. In fact, she often made these runs solo. She even served as an ambulance, evacuating the wounded from the field. Wounded in battle twice, she was given the rank of corporal in 1953 and later given a battlefield promotion in 1954. She was so trusted, that she made supply runs by herself and was allowed to wander about freely where she would often enter marines’ tents where she was given refuge there on cold nights.  

 “The highlight of her nine-month military career came in late March 1953 during fighting around Vegas Hill when, in a single day, she made 51 solo trips to resupply multiple front line units. … She also became the first horse in the Marine Corps known to have participated in an amphibious landing, and following the war was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and several other military honors.” ~Wikipedia.

Because of her invaluable service she is considered one of America’s 100-all-time heroes. She died in May 1968, leaving behind a legacy of service.

I knew horses were smart. In fact, they have a video that went viral about a week ago in which a horse unlocks its gate and then unlocks the gates for the other horses in its stable. But I don’t think I realized just how smart a horse can be until I found this article on Sergeant Reckless. For those interested, there's a website devoted to her honor and a memorial they're raising funds for.


  1. What a nice post, Ciara. I'd never heard of this amazing horse and didn't realize the army used horses in that time period. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'd never heard about Sgt. Reckless, Ciara. So glad you posted this!

    What a courageous horse!

  3. I just got contacted by Robin Hutton. She wrote a book on the subject and started the website on the horse. I'm hoping to host her on my blog to help her promote the book and get the word out about this amazing animal.

  4. Oh,Ciara. I love this about a wonderful horse. What is it about horses that we love? I'm not a horse person, I rode one at age 6 and haven't since, and I'm actually a little afraid of them.
    But anytime I see a horse or horses, and especially colts in a field or pasture, I ooh and ahhh about their beauty. I really can't think of much else that's more beautiful than horses in a field.

    This story about such a wonderful horse is amazing. I recall a few other stories about special horses, and love every one of them. Thanks so much for this information.

  5. Beautiful post, Ciara, what a wonderful, heart touching story. I've got tears in my eyes. Horses are such brilliant animals. I always suspected it, but now, volunteering at a horse rescue, I know it for sure. Rest in peace, dearest. I love that your fellow soldiers took you into their tents at night. Great, great post.


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