Sgt. Reckless, a mighty Marine
Foaled by a race horse named Morning Flame, the favorite of track fans in Seoul, Korea, Reckless wins the adoration of Kim Huk Moon, a young Korean boy whose courage and perseverance had made him her mother’s devoted trainer and rider. Kim learns to love Reckless even more than he had loved Flame, and when war envelopes their country the inseparable pair leave the deserted race track and are exposed to many daring and exciting adventures together. Peace comes eventually, but not before Kim, in order to get the money to buy an artificial leg for his wounded sister, bravely makes the greatest sacrifice of his life when he sells Reckless to American Marines for use as an ammunition carrier at the front.
Bought by a Marine gun crew with their own money and trained to help them carry shells for the Recoilless Rifle which they have nicknamed “Reckless”, she is dubbed with the same name and made their mascot. Her antics, and her insatiable appetite for such surprising tidbits as poker chips, coca cola, shredded wheat, scrambled eggs, vitamin pills, a hat or two, and her specially made blanket of red silk trimmed with gold, bring welcome amusement and relief amid the strains of combat.
Her first real test under battle conditions comes when she is led beside the thunderous rifle to which she has packed ammunition over rugged hily terrain. There were some who doubted that a horse could withstand the tremendous blast of the Recoilless Rifle and remain calm. Will she hold? Will she bolt? The gun is fired:
Wham-whoosh! The hills bellowed and rocketed with the roar. Abehind the weapon spurted a flame of dust. Though weighted down with six shells, Reckless left the ground with all four feet ... her eyes went white. ‘Take it easy, Reckless,’ Coleman, a Marine, soothed. Wham-whoosh! Reckless went into the air again, but not quite so far. She snorted and shook her head to stop the ringing in her ears. Wham-whoosh! She shook as the concussive blast of air struck her, but she did not rear. She stood closer to Coleman, trembling slightly, but the white was gone from her eyes.”
She had held, and from that day Reckless was an indispensable member of the gun crew, making trip after trip, often alone, from the ammunition supply point to the gun, laden with heavy shells under the most devastating enemy fire, never faltering, never failing.
So completely does Reckless capture the hearts of her Marine comrades with her beguiling shenanigans and her fearlessness that they present her with a special citation for bravery, promote her to the rank of sergeant and personally pay her way to the United States where she will enjoy well-earned retirement pastured in the rolling hills of Camp Pendleton, in California. Retirement, however, does not mean that her exploits are at an end, because the fame of Reckless has spread far and wide, and good Marines, unlike some, do not fade away. Semper fidelis, always faithful, was never a more fitting motto than in the example of this horse.
What a hero.. I had never heard of Sgt. Reckless thanks Smrobs so much for sharing.
I have never heard that story either and love it.
That's a great story and, just for once, one with a happy ending for an animal war hero.
Really enjoyed that story! So many incredible horses out there whose stories will never be told.
Thanks for this one.
One of my favorite bits of USMC history -- I put together various stories of famous Marines that we used as table-top displays for the dinners for poolees and their families when my husband was out here on recruiting duty and the Reckless one was always a favorite to read and discuss.
Of course, to be nitpicky - her blanket actually indicates a rank of Staff Sergeant - something quickly pointed out by every Marine who read the story and saw the picture during our dinners.
I read that story in Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul!
Wonderful story!!!! I actually have chills from reading it.
There is actually a novel written about reckless. It's called Reckless: Pride of the Marines
by Andrew Geer
I actually own this book and it is really good.
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