Horse News

Veteran’s Day: Sgt. Reckless – the Real War Horse

“It is Veteran’s Day and being a veteran of several armed conflicts, myself, I would like to tip my hat to all of the women, men, dogs and even horses who have served (and are still serving) to protect our Constitution and this great land that we call The United States of America.  The sacrifices have been many and all deserve to be honored for their valor, commitment, sense of duty and patriotic pride…we all thank you.

And with that said, I have been asked to pay tribute, this day, to a very special little mare that served and saved many American lives during the Korean war, the horse called Sgt. Reckless.  We ran this story back in 2012 and we reprint the timeless tale and information again today.  Thank you Sgt. Reckless and to all the service animals that help to keep our military safe and secure.  You have our honor and our respect.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

Information supplied by and

A Four-Legged American War Hero

Click Image to Visit the Sgt. Reckless Website

The story of Reckless is not only remarkable – it is unusual. And once you learn about her, you will see why the Marine Corps not only fell in love with her – but honored her and promoted her every chance they got. And it wasn’t just the Marines that served with her in the trenches that honored her – her last promotion to Staff Sergeant was by Gen. Randolph McC Pate – the Commandant of the entire Marine Corps. You can’t get higher than that in the Marines.

Reckless joined the Marines to carry ammunition to the front lines for the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines – and she quickly earned the love and respect of all of the Marines that served with her. Lt. Eric Pedersen paid $250 of his own money to a young Korean boy, Kim Huk Moon, for her. The only reason Kim sold his beloved horse was so he could buy an artificial leg for his older sister, Chung Soon, who lost her leg in a land mine accident.

Kim’s loss was the Marines’ gain.

It was not only Reckless’ heroics that endeared the Marines to her – it was her incredible antics off of the battlefield. You will not believe her antics when she was being ignored, or if she was hungry – let’s just say you never wanted to leave your food unattended. As legendary as she was for her heroics – her appetite became even more legendary. This horse had a mind of her own – not to mention, being very determined.

Reckless had a voracious appetite. She would eat anything and everything – but especially scrambled eggs and pancakes in the morning with her morning cup of coffee. She also loved cake, Hershey bars, candy from the C rations, and Coca Cola – even poker chips, blankets and hats when she was being ignored – or if she was trying to just prove a point.

One of Reckless’ finest hours came during the Battle of Outpost Vegas in March of 1953. At the time of this battle it was written that, “The savagery of the battle for the so-called Nevada Complex has never been equaled in Marine Corps history.” This particular battle “was to bring a cannonading and bombing seldom experienced in warfare … twenty-eight tons of bombs and hundreds of the largest shells turned the crest of Vegas into a smoking, death-pocked rubble.” And Reckless was in the middle of all of it.

Enemy soldiers could see her as she made her way across the deadly “no man’s land” 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.

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.

What she did in this battle not only earned her the respect of all that served with her, but it got her promoted to Sergeant. Her heroics defined the word “Marine.” She was BELOVED by the Marines. They took care of her better than they took care of themselves – throwing their flak jackets over her to protect her when incoming was heavy, risking their own safety.

Her Military Decorations include two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, all of which she wore proudly on her red and gold blanket, along with a French Fourragere that the 5th Marines earned in WW1.

There has never been a horse like Reckless, and her story needs to be honored.

11 replies »

  1. Thanks to all our animal and human veterans who have given and still give their lives and service for this country. Don’t forget the pigeons .


    • …and the Burros and Mules
      Soldiers and Animals in World War II

      Horses, mules, and dogs were regularly employed by American forces to work on the battlefields of World War II. Horses carried soldiers on patrol missions in Europe and into battle in the Philippines. Mules, trained in the United States and shipped by the thousands into war zones, contributed their strength and sweat to the fight. Their backs bore the food, weapons, and sometimes the men of entire infantry units.

      Some twenty thousand dogs served the U.S. Army, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. They guarded posts and supplies, carried messages, and rescued downed pilots. Scout dogs led troops through enemy territory, exposing ambushes and saving the lives of platoons of men. In the throes of combat, war dogs proved their intelligence, courage, and steadfast loyalty time and time again. Many photographs in National Archives holdings document the exploits-and the sacrifice-of America’s animal warriors


  2. Having parents that both served in WWII and who were both animal lovers, I am afraid they would turn over in their graves if they knew how our government treats our wild horses and burros and all wildlife today.


  3. Colts Western Shop

    Dear Congress: 
    Thank You for taking time out of your hectic schedule to Honor Our Military. As you may already know the Men and Women Along with their families have protected and served This Country with Pride. What you may Also know is how much Love…therapy… and understanding they deserve when they return home. Over the course of the past several years honoring them has been so Important and as a Result Horses have opened doors for friendship..healing..theraputic and emotional support. The connection offered from horses who cannot speak to Veterans who may want but just cannot because of what they have gone through. Families and soldiers are being healed. Scars are forever but love overpowers those to open doors and offer love which by all means overcomes the pain. Please Congress Keep Honoring Soldiers and Horses. The Safeguard Americas Food and Export Act is stop the suffering and keep Our Food Supply here and Abroad Safe. Isnt that what they were Fighting for? Protection. As each Veteran is honored today dont forget the horses that are here to help them and those like Sgt. RECKLESS who fought to Save Lives. Its not easy in War so why keep fighting one we can just simply Win? To the Veterans All Our Love and Many Gracious Thank Yous. And to Our Horses We will Never Stop until we have won. To Congress this is an easy choice so do the Right thing. Support Safeguard Americas Food and Export Act today! Thank you!

    Colts Western Shop…


  4. Amen to Colts Western Shop. Great storynwe put in the ABU Newsletter a while back. It’s time we reminded our illustrious Legislators what horses have done for this country. Like Reckless, she served and was promoted to Sgt. status. They delivered the mail, and brought Americans across the plains. They help handicap people to use muscles once damaged. They helped immates, and are now helping some if the returning vets thru their energy work. And this is how they are treated!! You out lived your usefulness now it’s slaughter for you! I would be willing g to bet NOT ONE Kill Buyer has EVER served in the military. I want to thank all the servicemen and women plus all the Veterans who have served our Country!!! Especially all the horses, other equines and dogs as well.


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