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.

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


  • Bill Morenz

    Well said Frank Walker.

  • Frank Walker

    For P. Morse and Peter Perez-Donnelly: You two need to fall back and adjust your brain housing groups. What about our Marine Corps mascot at 8th and I? What about al those dogs and other animals that Mairnes have adopted that helped them deal with what they were facing? Both of you need to read “Always Faithful” about the Marine war dogs of WWII and go to the internet and read about the war dogs serving with and saving Marine lives in Iraq and Afganistan. All of those are as much Marines as you two claim to be. By the way I’m a retired MUSTANG: SSgt (RVN 67-68), CWO3, Capt.

  • David S. HM3

    To P. Morse and Peter Perez-Donnelly, tell any Marine canine handler that animals don’t deserve medals and you’ll get knocked on your butt. (P.S. : There are many monuments to smart heroic horses, unfortunately most have a dumb human on top of them.)

  • Pete C.

    Read the book on Reckless…although not greatly written as it’s very repetitive in places and you will get a much better appreciation for what this God given critter did for Corps and Country!! The men associated with this horse certainly appreciated what it did and highly approved all it’s honors..

  • PETER Perez-Donnelly

    #I am a 71 year Old Marine who served in Danang(1967 to 1968 ) ! R eckless was just a Horse and Not a Human Being! Horses don’t know what Medals are, etc .They don’t appreciate them. They appreciate Oats and Sugar Cubes to Eat. They also appreciate a Companion Horse, which is of the Opposite Sex , in their Pasture . *

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