Staff Sgt. Reckless Honored at Marine Corps Museum

Staff Sgt. Reckless Honored at Marine Corps Museum

Staff Sgt. Reckless, circa 1952-1955.

Photo: Andrew Geer, United States Marine Corps

A monument to a chestnut-haired, Korean War combat seasoned female Marine beauty was dedicated in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, adjacent to the National Museum of the Marine Corps on July 26. Her strength, determination, and espirt de corps made her a valuable asset long before there was ever a thought of women in combat. But then, she was no ordinary female. Staff Sgt. Reckless was a small horse who served valiantly with a Marine recoilless rifle platoon and was even decorated for her actions.

A Marine lieutenant purchased Staff Sgt. Reckless for $250 from a young Korean boy who needed money to buy his sister an artificial limb. Staff Sgt. Reckless carried ammunition to the frontlines and quickly became a beloved presence on and off the battlefield. One of her finest moments was during the Battle of Outpost Vegas, a violent five-day battle during which the brave horse made 51 trips up and down a steep mountain side to reach the Marines’ firing positions. To this day, Korean War veterans recall seeing Staff Sgt. Reckless repeatedly make the harrowing trek to bring both life-saving supplies and boosts to morale.

The monument honoring Staff Sgt. Reckless’ actions, sculpted by Jocelyn Russell, captures her in an uphill stance, carrying a load of ammunition. That is a picture most Marines who served with her will likely never forget. The idea of placing the monument at the Museum came to Robin Hutton, president of Angels Without Wings, Inc., the non-profit sponsoring the monument, after she read about Staff Sgt. Reckless’ actions in a compilation of horse stories.

“I was so inspired by her story that I instantly knew something had to be done to honor her. This monument, the book I’ve written about Reckless and all my efforts have been a labor of love. I’m so excited to see her get the recognition she deserves,” Hutton said.

The dedication program will included remarks by Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, as well as Hutton and Russell. Also speaking were Sgt. Harold Wadley, who served with Staff Sgt. Reckless in Korea, and Lt. Gen Robert R. Blackman, president and chief executive officer of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Other Marines who served with Staff Sgt. Reckless will were also in attendance, as well as many other Korean War veterans as they celebrated the 60th anniversary of the war’s end.

Staff Sgt. Reckless’ history is also being told through a small exhibit in the Museum’s Korean War Gallery. The exhibit includes several artifacts and photos as well as an educational children's component, allowing young visitors to measure "how many hands high" they are in comparison to Staff Sgt. Reckless.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway in Triangle, Va. and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Dec. 25. Admission and parking are free. For more information visit www.usmcmuseum.org.

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