From the racetrack to the battlefield—dauntless, fearless, and exemplar of Semper Fi—SHE was Reckless, "pride of the Marines."
Bred to be a racehorse, Ah-Chim-Hai, or Flame-of-the-Morning, belonged to a boy named Kim-Huk-Moon. In order to pay for a prosthetic leg for his sister, Kim made the difficult decision to sell his beloved horse. Lt. Eric Pedersen purchased the mare and renamed her Reckless, for the Recoilless Rifles Platoon, Anti-Tank Division, of the 5th Marines she’d be joining.
The four-legged hero braved minefields and hailing shrapnel to deliver ammunition to the gunsites. In one day alone, Reckless made 51 trips from the Ammunition Supply Point to the firing sites, most of the time on her own. She carried 386 rounds of ammunition on her back (over 9,000 lbs) and walked over 35 miles through open rice paddies and up steep mountains with enemy fire exploding at the rate of 500 rounds per minute. Wounded twice, she never stopped. She even shielded Marines going up to the line, and helped carry the wounded to safety. There’s no telling how many lives she helped save.
Despite only measuring about 13 hands high, this pint-sized equine became an American hero. Reckless was awarded two Purple Hearts for her valor and was officially promoted to staff sergeant, a distinction never bestowed upon an animal before or since. She was recently awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal, the “Victoria Cross for Animals,” the greatest honor and animal can achieve for gallantry and bravery. Her story is absolutely amazing.
New York Times bestselling author Robin Hutton reignited excitement about this nearly forgotten legend when she teamed up with artist Jocelyn Russell to create national monuments to this hero. Five monuments now stand in her honor around the country: the first in 2013 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps; the second in October 2016 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, where Reckless lived out the rest of her days and is buried; the third monument was dedicated in May 2018 at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park, where Reckless now resides alongside the greatest horses in American history. It is an honor and a privilege for her to be there, and the site chosen is absolutely perfect! Equestrian lovers from around the world can now enjoy this wonderful tribute to America’s greatest war horse. Two more monuments were dedicated in 2019: one at a horse farm in Barrington Hills, IL; and the latest one stands at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft Worth, TX. A sixth is planned at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, FL in 2021. After those, hopefully South Korea where Reckless will finally be going home to be with her South Korean friends!
To learn more about these monuments, go to www.SgtReckless.com!