Skip to comments.Sgt. Reckless - Korean War Horse Hero
Posted on 07/06/2011 9:04:45 AM PDT by Daffynition
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 wasnt 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 cant 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.
Kims 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 lets 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 mans land rice paddies and up the steep 45-degree mountain trails that led to the firing sites. Its 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 provided a shield for several Marines who were trapped trying to make their way up to the front line. She was wounded twice, but that didnt 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 included two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, all of which she wore proudly on her red and gold blanket.
There has never been a horse like Reckless, and her story needs to be preserved.
That is an awesome story.
Thanks for the story Bill!
Reckless enjoying a beer with her fellow Jarheads.
Thanks so much for posting this. Our daughter has a friend visiting today and both these horse-crazy girls loved this story!!
*Many* types of animals served/saved our military during all of the wars.
They get precious little recognition.
It’s another ‘pet peeve’ of mine...no pun intended.
Along with veterans, MIAs and returning heroes, often forgotten are the animal heroes of all our wars.
Please scroll down to the bottom of our biz site and contribute to *their* memorials, whomever may feel moved to do so.
How many of our boys are alive today because of ... a horse? You have to love this story.
So pleased they enjoyed it. We can learn a lot from this courageous Marine.
[Better horse crazy than boy crazy!] ;D
Don’t thank me...thank *them*....:)
Smoky, the Yorkie Doodle Dandy
Smoky, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, was found in a foxhole in the New Guinea jungle, bedraggled and starving, how she got there no one knows. As Bill Wynne tells it:
Smoky was found in the jungle foxhole by Ed Downey a friend ,who not liking dogs gave it to motor pool Sgt. Dare from whom I bought her the next day for two Australian pounds ($6.44 American) so Dare could get back in a poker game.
Smoky went with Wynne from then on and, in the course of eighteen months of combat with the 26th Photo Recon Sq., of the 6th Photo Recon Group, 91st Photo Recon Wing, 5th Air Force, Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars. YANK magazine named Smoky, “Champion Mascot of the Southwest Pacific Area in 1944.”
But Smoky was more than a mascot. She became a war dog on Luzon in January 1945 when a taxistrip had to be crossed by a communications cable, requiring a culvert to be dug up. That three day job would put the strip out of action, exposing planes to Japanese bombing. Smoky solved the problem by pulling a string with the wires attached through an eight inch pipe under the runway, climbing through piles of sand accumulated along the 70 foot length.
How wonderful is that?....:)
All creatures, great and small, save our soldiers, one and all.
Here's the Marine Corps War Dog Memorial, which honors the twenty-five war dogs who died during the Battle of Guam.
Thanks...but you haven’t checked my profile page, have ya?
[BTW...I’m a big fan of yours]...:)
Have you ever heard of Private Woyjek (pronounced Voytek) of the Polish Army? During WW2, some Polish soldiers stationed in Iran purchased an orphaned bear cub and turned him into their unit mascot. He grew up around soldiers, walked on his hind legs, smoked cigarettes, and drank beer. When the Polish forces deployed to Italy as part of the British 8th Army, the Brits told them they couldn't take any pets or mascots along, so they inducted him into the service and assigned him to the 22nd Artillery Transport Company.
During the Battle of Monte Casino, the Poles were tasked with taking the mountain fortress, and Voytek was right there in the middle of the fight. For three days, he helped carry mortar shells up the side of the mountain.
The new unit insignia of the Polish 22nd Artillery Transport Company
After the war, Voytek and most of his army buddies refused to go home because of the communists being in charge, so they moved to Scotland. Voytek spent the rest of his life in luxury at the Edinburgh Zoo. His army buddies would come to wrestle with him every weekend and would bring him beer and cigarettes. When he finally died in 1963, he was given a full military funeral.
I remember *Stubby*:
Bull Terrier mix, WWI. The most decorated war dog in U.S. history. As a small, stray bull terrier, he was smuggled aboard a troop ship to France. There he was wounded in no-mans land but recovered and still served in battles at Chateau Thierry, the Marne and the Meuse-Argonne with the men of the 102nd Infantry. One night in February 1918, he roused a sleeping sergeant to warn of a gas attack, giving the soldiers time to don masks and thus saving them. Gen John Black Jack Pershing awarded him a special Gold Medal. He was given Life Membership in the American Legion and the Red Cross. He met Presidents Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge. He died of old age in 1926. Stubby is now on display as part of American military history in the Hartford Armory in Connecticut and is called Sergeant Stubby.