With the new Family movie „War Horse“ Steven Spielberg, horse lover and genius movie director Steven Spielberg, who never rode a horse himself but owns 4 stallions, fulfilled himself a passion.
He tells the story of the friendship between a young man and a horse. The horse drafted in World War 1 into the British Army becoming an icon and hero.
Steven Spielberg’s story of course is fiction.
But here is the story of a real life horse that became a true War hero during the Korean War. She gives the motto “Semper Fi” a whole new meaning
RECKLESS – THE REAL WAR HORSE
(Staff Sargent U.S. Marine Corps)
I’m sure that you, like me, have never heard of this horse before, but the narrator is right – her story should be told.
Reckless was a pack horse during the Korean war, and she carried recoilless rifles, ammunition and supplies to Marines. Nothing too unusual about that, lots of animals got pressed into doing pack chores in many wars.
But this horse did something more during the battle for a location called Outpost Vegas: This mare made 51 trips up and down the hill on one day alone. On the way up, she carried ammunition, and on the way down she carried wounded soldiers. What was so amazing? Well, she made virtually every one of those trips without anyone leading her.
Imagine a horse carrying a wounded soldier, being smacked on the rump at the top of the hill, and heading back to the safety of the rear. But to imagine the same horse, loaded with ammunition, and trudging back to the battle where artillery is going off, without anyone leading her is unbelievable. How many horses would even make it back to the barn once, let alone return to you in the field one single time?
How bad was the battle for Outpost Vegas? Artillery rounds fell at the rate of 500 per minute, and only two men from one company made it out alive. Just two.
As for Reckless, well, she was wounded twice in the battle, but she didn’t get a trip Stateside like other GI’s. She continued to assist Marines: carry ammunition, stringing communication line, whatever was asked of her.
She was retired at the Marine Corps Base in Camp Pendleton where General Randolph McC Pate – the Commandant of the entire Marine Corps – issued the following order… She was never to carry any more weight on her back, except her own blankets.
Her Military Decorations included two Purple Hearts, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with Star, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, all of which she wore proudly on her red and gold blanket.
She died in 1968 at the age of 20.
In the 1990s, she was featured in the LIFE magazine collector’s edition ‘Celebrating Our Heroes’ as one of America ‘s 100 greatest heroes of all time, alongside George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Mother Teresa.
I want to say thank you to my dear friend for several years Emily Phillips McWhorter, a wonderful young woman from Texas, married wife, horse lover, proud American, true patriot and supporter of our troops. Not only did she bring this story to my attention but also sent me the words above and so contributed primarily to this amazing story. Thanks Em.
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© By Emily Phillips McWhorter and Tom Lehner