Camp Pendleton unveils Staff Sgt Reckless monument

Camp Pendleton unveils Staff Sgt Reckless monument

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Camp Pendleton hosts a ceremony unveiling a statue dedicated to Staff Sgt. Reckless, the famous Korean War pack horse, at the Pacific Views Event Center, Oct. 26, 2016.

Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, as well as many Marines who served in the Korean War with Reckless, attended the ceremony.

“I never expected to see a horse in the middle of the chaos in Korea,” said Harold Wadley, a Korean War veteran who served with Reckless. “Reckless supplied about 9-thousand pounds of ammo while receiving heavy artillery fire.”

Reckless’ finest hours came at the Battle of Outpost Vegas in March of 1953, where she made 51 solo trips in a single day, transporting 386 recoilless rifle rounds to the front lines. As Reckless took care of the Marines, the Marines took care of her, shielding the war horse with their flak jackets to protect her from heavy enemy fire.

“She was a herd animal and the Marines became her herd,” said Jocelyn Russell, sculpture of the Staff Sgt Reckless monument. “For her to be turned loose and to walk across mine fields and heavy enemy fire all on her own I learned a lot about her loyalty to the Marines.”

Reckless was awarded two purple hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation with a bronze star, the National Defense Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Korea Medal, a Navy Unit Commendation, a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and, posthumously, was awarded the Dickin Medal.

After serving in the Korean War, Reckless’ final duty station was Camp Pendleton where she stayed until her death in 1968. Reckless was buried with full military honors.

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • buzz alpert, E-5 1960-66

    God bless all those Marine animals who served and died alongside our Marines in combat. And my thanks to all those Marines who commented here, which was almost all of you, recognizing the bravery of those creatures whose total commitment was to save the lives of their fellow Marines. If there’s a Heaven, I hope to see them there.,

  • buzz alpert, E-5 1960-66

    Regarding your comment on medals/awards, etc. for animals please consider that the men Reckless served with wanted her recognized for the brave and lifesaving work she did for them in combat. Their way was to see that she was rewarded with medals and also that she was well cared for and fed and comfortably housed upon her return to Pendleton. Nothing wrong with any of that and if Reckless helped you survive you too might feel the same way. There is another side to the story and no one is right or wrong, but each Marine is entitled to his/her opinion. Sometimes you have to take a slice of the pizza to know what it tastes like and I figure the jarheads who she helped felt a lot better stepping up to the plate to say, ‘Thanks, Reckless.’ I bet the awards to that great horse, Reckless made them feel better and that’s worth something. There are very few things in life like to the devotion, loyalty and love of one of God’s creatures like a horse, a dog, etc. Mr. Morse and Mr. Perez-Donnelly you ought to get close to an animal and experience that kind of companionship. If you locked in girlfriend and your dog in a car trunk and came back a half hour later who do you think would be glad to see you? A joke of course, but there is more to it than meets the eye. If you never shared your life with a creature as described above you’ve missed something more than special.

  • mike kelley, msgt, ret. vietnam vet

    during the civil war and later wars, some american servicemen cried whenever a faihfull and brave horse or k-9 died in battle or died of disease. in both ww1 and ww2, military k-9 dogs were awarded rank and medals for their loyal and brave service for saving the lives of many of our troops. i think it’s a great tribute to the pack horses of all wars. thanks to the efforts of all those who made this happen. well done!

  • Raymond E. McNeal

    Nov 27. 2016 As a PFC I was assigned duties at the Base Stables MCB CamPen. My OIC was LtCol A. C. Bowen, Had the great pleasure of taking care of SSgt Reckless. So glad to see a statue of SSgt Reckless, a well deserved tribute to a devoted Marine. Worked with a LCpl Peck . Prior to assignment to the stables my boss was Sgt C. M. Chandler. Retired CWO-2 R. E. McNeal.

  • Dave G, B/1/9

    I’m an old cowboy and a Marine. I have no problem with a good horse that did what was asked of it when it counted being recognized. Those Marines that received the ammo appreciated it. Reckless did good and it’s no big deal. Pissing contest end up with all getting some on them. My hat’s off to her.

Leave a comment