Feel Good Sunday: A Veterans Day Prayer

“To those who look forward to a smile, a snicker and a little laugh on Sunday mornings I apologize, we will not be able to give that to you this morning.  Instead, we offer up warmth, moist eyes and a glow in your soul as I just cannot let Veterans Day drift off into the darkness for another year, not yet.

I cannot do it today, of all days, where spoiled, privileged, do-nothing ingrates take to a field to play a game we played as children and disrespect those who gave their lives so that they can make 30 times the annual salary of average Americans, just can’t do it.  Wrong place, wrong message, wrong audience…just plain wrong.

So today we offer a prayer that was given by a true American; one that pushes us forward to save the spirit of America and the National icons that we hold dear.  It is our duty, our mission and our obligation to give our all to save the last of our wild horses and burros for future generations to experience, to enjoy and to love.

For the sake of those who died to keep us free, we work with earnest to keep free the wild horses and burros of the United States of America, it is our calling.  God Bless.” ~ R.T.

Veteran’s Day Tribute: “12 Strong” America’s Horse Soldiers

“Each and every Veteran’s Day we attempt to highlight equine bravery that has helped to keep this country free and with that said, we usually land on telling the story of Sgt. Reckless, a little mare that attained the rank of Sgt. in the Marine Corp. during the Korean war.  But there have been so many other horses who have served bravely and some not all that long ago.  Which brings us to the upcoming release of the movie “12 STRONG” the unclassified true story of America’s first soldiers to enter Afghanistan after 9/11 and they did it on horseback.

We are not hyping a movie but instead applauding the telling of an important tale where horses were one of the most important components of battling for America’s freedom and sovereignty.

To all my fellow veterans, (both 2 and 4 legged) thank you for your sacrifice, your service and the pledge that you made to your commander-in-chief, country and God.  You are the backbone of our freedom and independence while being true role models for generations to come.  For you I stand with pride and tears in my eyes during the playing of the National Anthem.  May God bless you all.” ~ R.T.

Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on the best-selling book Horse Soldiers, it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.

Award-winning director Nicolai Fuglsig directed the film, which is produced by legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer (the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, “Black Hawk Down”), together with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill (“La La Land,” “Sicario”) under their Black Label Media banner. Oscar winner Ted Tally (“The Silence of the Lambs”) and Peter Craig (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Parts 1 & 2”) wrote the screenplay, based on the acclaimed book by best-selling author Doug Stanton. The executive producers are Oscar nominees and Alcon principals Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson (“The Blind Side”), together with Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Ellen H. Schwartz, Garrett Grant, Yale Badik, Val Hill and Doug Stanton.

“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghan horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.

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 sgtreckless.com and realwarhorse.com

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.


Veterans Day 2014: An Anniversary Worth Notice

By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc as published in theHorse.com

More than 8 million horses served in World War I and only a fraction survived

In December 2013, a massive ice storm hit the northeast, rendering millions without power. Our elderly neighbors “rescued” my children and me, and we stayed huddled in front of their fire, which served as our only source of heat and light for several days.

The primitive living conditions reminded my neighbors of growing up in the midst of World War II, diving head first into the trenches lining the perimeter of the school yard when the sirens sounded and standing in the bomb shelters reciting times tables whilst breathing as hard as possible to make their gas masks puff ever so slightly from their faces to produce a flatulence-like sound.

Sgt Reckless the real War Horse

Sgt Reckless the real War Horse

Just like young people continue to find small joys in childhood even in the midst of war, horses and other equids continue go to work helping their human companions in any way they are asked. It is simply their nature. While many human soldiers bravely elect to serve their countries, equids have been called to duty over the centuries, without choice or complaint.

Recall some of the following facts:

  • More than 8 million horses served in World War I and only a fraction survived;
  • The British Army alone recruited 1 million horses—more than 90% died;
  • In addition to direct attacks, causes of death in war horses were due to disease, starvation, thirst, and exposure to the elements;
  • In World War II, Germany reportedly used 2.75 million horses, while the Soviets used 3.5 million; and
  • After surviving a war, horses were rarely returned to their homes. Instead, they were repurposed and sent to other war zones.

Every Nov. 11, people throughout the world remember, thank, and celebrate veterans in different ways. And, for the past several years, TheHorse.com has recognized the role of horses in warfare, each year with a different goal—unwanted horses, maintenance of equine war monuments, a moment of silence for horses, for example.

This year, we seek to raise awareness regarding the continued war efforts that horses make through equine therapy. Our human heroes return from war expected to rejoin society despite bearing physical scars and emotional wounds. Yet again, our equine companions give selflessly to help our veterans heal as highlighted in the award-winning documentary Riding My Way Back.

There are a number of organizations offering healing services to veterans, such as the Injured Marie Semper Fi Fund’s Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program  and Saratoga Warhorse that “provides each individual with a unique experience that helps to release stress.”

Many more veterans could and would benefit from equine therapy. This Veterans Day, during the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, consider making a donation to an equine therapy organization to show support not only for the veterans horses help today but also the scores of service animals lost to the trenches over time.

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