A Brave Marine - Sergeant Reckless
 By mosquito   •   11th Jul 2012   •   9,930 views   •   15 comments
This isn’t the story of just any marine. Sergeant Reckless was unique. First of all, I think I’m safe in saying she was the first female marine ever, certainly the first to be promoted to Sergeant. She was like her comrades in many ways – She liked a good breakfast of scrambled eggs and coffee, and to finish off the day with a beer with her buddies. She was fearless in battle, and earned two Purple Hearts. But what made her special? Well, Sergeant Reckless was a pony!

Reckless was born – probably in the late 1940s – and grew up as a little chestnut pony, named Ah Chin Hai (Korean for ‘flower in the morning’). She belonged to a young farmer boy named Kim. When the Korean War started in 1950, times became pretty tough for her poor farming family, and sadly Kim’s little sister lost her leg after stepping on a land mine. Kim started taking Ah Chin Hoi to the Seoul racetrack to race her and try and raise money for an artificial leg for his sister.

Reckless was full of character, and she was spotted by Lieutenant Eric Pedersen, who was looking for fast, brave ponies to carry artillery for his troops. He offered Kim $250 from his own pocket to buy the little mare – a huge sum of money to Kim, and Ah Chin Hai became Reckless.

Reckless in Korea
Reckless in Korea

Reckless quickly became pretty well known among the Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines. She certainly had character, and it wasn’t long before the rest of the marines learned not to leave their sandwich lying around – Reckless had quite an appetite and would give almost anything a try! She would join the troops at breakfast, not for oats – or even oatmeal – but for scrambled eggs and pancakes and bracing cup of military coffee, and finish the day hanging out with the soldiers and having a beer. A memo outlining preparations for her arrival back in America described what she liked best:

During the extreme heat of Korea, when potable water was scarce or non-existent, Reckless came to know and like certain liquids other than water. She is fond of coca cola and milk. Under the stress of battle she has been known to drink beer.

But Reckless was more than just a camp character – she had a job to do, and she took it seriously. The intelligence that lay behind her charisma made her famous on the battlefield. It didn’t matter what task she was set; she figured it out quickly, and completed her assignments with determination and bravery. She carried heavy rifle artillery to the front lines, she brought wounded soldiers back, she carried messages and supplies, and she never hesitated or refused her jobs. She learned to step over barbed wire, scramble into foxholes (where her fellow soldiers would wrap her in their own flak jackets to protect her), and to crouch down and crawl to avoid being spotted.

Reckless wasn’t just any war horse though, and her bravery and dedication saved many lives. On March 26, 1953, an infantry unit was guarding Outpost Vegas, a small post about a mile from the front line where South Korean, American, and other forces were sparring with a strong Chinese regiment. Harold Wadley was one of the Marines stationed there, and he set off back to retrieve some supplies. As he left, the Chinese launched a powerful assault. Wadley and some fellow soldiers, now wounded, scrambled back to the outpost. Wadley looked back and what did he see?

Reckless in Korea
Reckless in Korea

Reckless climbing up a steep ridge to the outpost – in full view of the enemy and without anyone riding or leading her – loaded with ammo and supplies. The attack continued into the night. All night long Reckless went back and forth, bringing supplies form a series of foxholes and camps further back, and returning with injured soldiers from the outpost. She made over 50 round trips, carried over 9000 pounds of ammunition, and covered over 35 miles. She was hit and wounded twice, but never stopped.

Wadley describes Reckless that night:

Some of the gun crew were wounded, so they didn’t have an extra Marine. She made that trip all night long by herself. They would tie a wounded Marine on her and turn her around and she’d head down that ridge with all this artillery and mortar coming in. The guys down there would unload the wounded off her and tie gun ammo on her and she would turn around right on her own and head right back up. She knew exactly what her job was. There’s not another horse in war history that could even touch that mare!

After the battle at Outpost Vegas, Reckless still had work to do. Once her wounds were healed, and even after the truce was signed in July 1953, Reckless worked to rebuild South Korea, stringing communication wire and carrying supplies. After the Marines had gone home, Reckless was left behind. A series of articles in the New York Post by her fellow soldiers started a campaign to bring her home, and he was finally given permission to come to America, arriving at Camp Pendleton, California, in 1954. She was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant, awarded two purple hearts, and a Presidential Citation – she even travelled in a hotel elevator to receive her awards!

Reckless at Camp Pendleton
Reckless at Camp Pendleton

During her retirement at Camp Pendleton, it was decreed that Reckless should never carry anything heavier than a blanket again. If she went out for a jog, the Marine assigned to accompany her had to run alongside! She had four babies, and although one died young, three survived – Dauntless, Fearless, and the unfortunately named Chesty.

Reckless Memorial
Reckless Memorial

Reckless passed away in 1968, probably around twenty years old, when she was put down after complications from an injury and pain from arthritis. She’s buried at Camp Pendleton, and there’s small monument to her there. Even after she died, the efforts to honor Reckless continue. In 1990, she was included in Life Magazine’s Americas’ 100 Greatest Heroes, and there is a campaign underway for a bronze statue of Reckless to be placed at Arlington cemetery. There are plans for a movie, and Reckless even has her own facebook fan club:

and her own website:

So visit those if you want to learn more, talk to people who knew Reckless and her babies, and join the campaign for a statue for Sergeant Reckless!
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Military,
Horse News More In This Category:  Equine History and Culture      Horse News More From This Author:  mosquito
Valkyrie   MOD 
This is a very interesting story :D a true war horse indeed!
  Jul 11, 2012  •  9,653 views
A very cool storie
  Jul 12, 2012  •  9,657 views
* story ( sorry i did not spell it right lol)
  Jul 12, 2012  •  9,656 views
Dusty Canyon  
Reckless is officially my new hero! :D What an amazing pony!
  Jul 12, 2012  •  9,813 views
Sapphire Flames  
Wow.....that was a great article! Very interesting to read! Thanks for writing it. :)
  Jul 12, 2012  •  9,652 views
What an incredible little horse! Thank you so much for sharing, I'm sure anyone who reads this will find a place in their heart to remember and honour her.
  Jul 13, 2012  •  9,681 views
Happy Stables  MOD 
What a great article! Reckless is a one of a kind horse. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. : )
  Jul 13, 2012  •  9,709 views
My Paper Heart  
That is astonishing, and incredible! Great article, very well written. =)
  Jul 13, 2012  •  9,649 views
Double Spur Ranch  
Very awesome story!
  Jul 14, 2012  •  9,667 views
Great story! Hope to hear more about Reckless, maybe they will make a movie about her!
  Jul 14, 2012  •  9,947 views
And I do think it is interesting that, otherwise some people, or some generations would have little to no knowledge of the Korean War, unless there was a horse associated with it, look at movies in general..sometimes it's the only way we learn about history, events etc.
  Jul 14, 2012  •  9,947 views
Let It Ride  
Amazing! I'm going to show this to all the people who say that horses are just dumb animals...
  Jul 15, 2012  •  9,676 views
I love this mare's cool!
  Jul 15, 2012  •  9,774 views
Amazing story of a brave horse. Thank you for this !
  Jul 21, 2012  •  10,075 views
Bright Horizon  
Awesome pony!
  Aug 5, 2012  •  9,691 views
 Related Horse News
A Brave Marine - Sergeant Reckless
11th Jul 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
This isn’t the story of just any marine. Sergeant Reckless was unique. First of all, I think I’m safe in saying she was the first female marine ever, certainly the first to be promoted to Sergeant. She was like her comrades in man ...
War Horses
18th Nov 2015   |   Equine History and Culture   |   Winniefield Park
Remembrance Day and Memorial Day are celebrated in many countries during the month of November. It’s a time to thank veterans and remember fallen heros. Along with the human heros, many of us also give some thought to the thousand ...
Awards For Horses
14th Dec 2018   |   Equine History and Culture   |   Winniefield Park
In many countries November is the month to mark Armistice, Remembrance or Memorial Day. No matter what it’s called, it’s a time to reflect on and honor those who sacrificed to maintain our freedom. Services and events are often at ...
Military on Horseback
10th Apr 2018   |   Equine History and Culture   |   Winniefield Park
As soon as man learned to ride horseback, they probably rode horses into battles, raids and other types of conflicts. But the earliest use of horses in battle, 3000 to 4000 years ago, was for pulling loads. Eventually the chariot ...
Military Drone Horses are Here
28th Dec 2020   |   Equine History and Culture   |   Winniefield Park
Military pack horses and mules may be a thing of the past, but the US military is spending tens of millions of dollars to build a drone/robot that can carry up to up to 400lbs (181Kg) of equipment over rough terrain to replace the ...
Swiss Military Flying Horses Exercise
3rd May 2021   |   Equine History and Culture   |   Winniefield Park
These flying horses don’t have wings. They are airborne thanks to a military exercise carried out in Switzerland. Veterinarians teamed up with the Swiss army to test various ways to use helicopters to airlift injured horses, one, ...
Miles Ranch Connects PTSD Military Vets with Horse Therapy
8th Aug 2020   |   Equine History and Culture   |   Winniefield Park
Ex-military personnel who have been on active duty often struggle with PTSD when they return to what is supposed to be normal life. The suicide rate of veterans is alarming. But there are many programs that use horses to help woun ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by mosquito
Old Joe - Chapter 5
10th Nov 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
I couldn’t believe my eyes. For having been so little there before, it looked like a whole town had been turned inside out. Ben shook his head, and walked down to the trail slowly, carefully, picking out way around what was now de ...
Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Hindquarters
21st Oct 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
We’ve seen how the lower legs and hoof all work together to help the horse move, even without any muscles there. Now let’s start looking at how the muscles of the horse really give him power, speed, and balance. Where better to st ...
Your Horse from the Ground Up - The Lower Leg - Part 2
8th Sep 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
We’ve taken a look at the solid structures of the lower leg – the bones – now let’s see what makes those bones move. First of all, remember that there are no muscles below the knee or the hock, so there’s no actual ‘engine’ to mov ...
Old Joe - Chapter 4
25th Aug 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
There was no shelter, no trees, nothing. Ben called again and we turned further right, angling away from the train. We were going uphill, and that seemed even more foolish to me until we reached the crest. What goes up, goes down, ...
Old Joe - Chapter 3
5th Aug 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
It wasn’t long before Luke rode up alongside us on Snowy. I couldn’t see him for my blinkers, but I could hear Snowy’s little quick hoofbeats and smell his carroty breath. Snowy reached over and gave me a nip on my muzzle; I turne ...
Old Joe - Chapter 2
29th Jul 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
As the sun grew higher in the sky, the dew dried on the grass, and the last few lingering clouds fluttered and disappeared. The bright blue sky – with that deep blue of a cold morning – changed to a softer hue, as a muggy haze be ...
Your Horse From the Ground Up - The Lower Leg - Part 1
19th Jul 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
Now that we have the foundations – the hoof – let’s move up our horse and find out a little more about how he moves. In this article we’ll visit the lower leg. For the most part, the front and hind legs (below the knee and hock) a ...
Old Joe - Chapter 1
15th Jul 2012   |   Equine History and Culture   |   mosquito
I heard the rooster crow, and shifted in my stall to try and stretch as much as I could. First he crows, then Farmer Ben comes along, Bess and I have breakfast, and we get to work. Sunday was yesterday, when we got brushed up nice ...
  View All News by mosquito
©2002 - 2024   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
402 Members Online 272,058 Registered Members 3,268 News Articles 15,134,411 Unique News Article Views 361,428,877 Website Views