CAMP PENDLETON (CNS) - A bronze statue of the Korean War pack horse dubbed "Sgt. Reckless'' by appreciative Marines was dedicated at Camp Pendleton Wednesday.
According to Robin Hutton, who wrote a book about the exploits of the small Mongolian mare, the horse was purchased by a Marine lieutenant from a Korean boy raising money for an artificial leg for his sister, who was injured in a land mine explosion.
The horse lugged ammunition for the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the Fifth Marine Division from storage areas to the front lines during the heat of battle and was wounded twice, Hutton said.
On one day of a furious clash in 1953 known as the Battle of Outpost Vegas, the horse made 51 trips carrying ammo up a hill and bringing wounded Marines down, most of the time by herself.
Sgt. Reckless also endeared herself to the Marines with an insatiable appetite in which she would gobble up just about everything in sight, from c-rations to cake and soft drinks.
Hutton wrote that the horse was promoted to staff sergeant by the Marine Corps commandant, and also earned two Purple Hearts, a Good Conduct Medal, and various service medals, and shared in unit citations, all of which she wore on her red and gold blanket.
Sgt. Reckless had three offspring before she died in 1968 and is buried at Camp Pendleton.
At the statue dedication, Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, commander of Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, was joined by Korean War Veterans who served with Staff Sgt. Reckless. The Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard also participated.