Staff Sergeant Reckless

The New Yorker magazine in its October 31st edition wrote, “On November 8, barring some astonishment, the people of the United States will, after two hundred and forty years, send a woman to the White House.”

Really?  Well, on Friday, October 28, they got their “astonishment” with the FBI reopening its Hillary Clinton email scandal.  It seems Huma Abedin, Clinton’s most trusted aide, had saved 650,000 emails on her estranged husband’s laptop.

Like most Americans, I am sick of the Clintons and how they conduct themselves.  Let’s talk about another mare and Marine Corps hero. On October 26 at Camp Pendleton, California, a statue was dedicated to a decorated Korean War Horse who held the rank of staff sergeant.  It’s the only animal in history to hold an official rank in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Staff Sergeant Reckless was a Mongolian horse purchased by First Lieutenant Eric Pedersen from a Korean stable boy for $250.

What Lieutenant Pederson needed was a pack horse for the recoilless rifle platoon, anti-tank company 5th Marines.  From recoilless came Recklesss.

As Wikipedia reports, she quickly became part of the unit and was allowed to roam freely through the camp, entering the Marines tents to sleep on cold nights and was known to eat nearly anything including  scrambled eggs, beer and Coca-Cola.  The unit’s corpsman limited the cokes to two per day.

She served in numerous combat actions during the Korean War, carrying supplies and ammunition and was also used to evacuate the wounded.  Learning each supply route only after a couple of trips, she often traveled to deliver supplies on her own.

Her primary trainer and the person Reckless was closest to was Gunnery Sergeant Joe Latham. Latham taught Reckless battlefield survival skills such as how not to become entangled in barbed wire and lie down when under fire.

The highlight of her nine-month military career came in late March 1953 during the battle for outpost Vegas, when in a single day she made 51 solo trips to resupply multiple front-line units.  She carried 386 rounds of ammunition (over 9,000 pounds) and walked over 35 miles under enemy fire.  She was wounded in combat twice, given the battlefield rank of corporal in 1953 and then a battlefield promotion to sergeant by Major General Randolph Pate, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division.  Sgt. Reckless was promoted to staff sergeant by Pate, who by 1959 had become Commandant of the Marine Corps.  General Pate personally presided over the promotion ceremony.

SSgt Reckless produced three foals that lived to maturity, colts Fearless (1957), Dauntless (1959) and Chesty (1964).  Chesty was named for Lieutenant General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, who was the only Marine to be awarded five Navy Crosses.

SSgt Reckless was awarded two purple hearts, Presidential and Navy Unit citations, the Good Conduct medal and other decorations.  She died on May 13, 1968, at Camp Pendleton.  In 1997, Reckless was listed by Life magazine as one of America’s 100 all-time heroes.  Unfortunately, this uncommon mare has more courage and character than does the Democrat nominee for president.