Animals have been used in war for thousands of years, but few U.S. military animals attained the notoriety of Reckless, a sorrel mare small for her size that joined the Marines during the Korean War, and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. Employed to help move heavy recoilless rifles and ammunition across steep and treacherous terrain, Reckless proved a quick learner, knowing when to take cover and when to proceed. Her true value and dedication was made apparent in the field, where she proved she could do the work of 10 marines. Reckless regularly proved her bravery and endurance, making precarious trips hauling ammunition to soldiers in need, often during heavy fire. Once home, news of her promotion to Staff Sergeant quickly spread, though that notoriety has since faded. Author Hutton aims to correct that, having spent over eight years researching the remarkable story of Reckless and gathering many of the photos shared here; stories of fellow soldiers litter the book, backing up claims of her bravery and playful personality (not to mention her love of food and beer). Hutton's passion and admiration for her subject (she also heads an effort to create a monument to Reckless) shines through in this sparkling and engaging portrait of a most remarkable and courageous animal. Photos. (Aug.)
She wasn't a horse—she was a Marine.
She might not have been much to look at—a small "Mongolian mare," they called her—but she came from racing stock, and had the blood of a champion. Much more than that, Reckless became a war hero—in fact, she became a combat Marine, earning staff sergeant's stripes before her retirement to Camp Pendleton. This once famous horse, recognized as late as 1997 by Life Magazine as one of America's greatest heroes—the greatest war horse in American history, in fact—has unfortunately now been largely forgotten. But author Robin Hutton is set to change all that. Not only has she been the force behind recognizing Reckless with a monument at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and at Camp Pendleton, but she has now recorded the full story of this four-legged war hero who hauled ammunition to embattled Marines and inspired them with her relentless, and reckless, courage.
"Hutton's passion and admiration for her subject (she also heads an effort to create a monument to Reckless) shines through in this sparkling and engaging portrait of a most remarkable and courageous animal."
— Publisher's Weekly
"Reckless is more than a story about a horse. It is a story of Marines and their horse. The ingenuity and compassion of Marines, even in battle, has always amazed me. These two traits, combined with a special horse we now know as Reckless, produced a legacy and a legend that lives today in Marine Corps lore. Robin Hutton has written the preeminent book on Reckless and her heroics."
General Walter E. Boomer, USMC (Ret.), Former Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and Marine Commanding General in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the Gulf War.
"Robin Hutton has given us a stirring, extraordinary book about the true wartime journey a filly and her fellow Marines traveled together. Sgt. Reckless got the job done and Robin got the history right."
Victoria Racimo, co-author of Alicia Keys’s The Journals of Mama Mae and LeeLee and founder and president, Palomino Entertainment Group
"In Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse, Robin Hutton has masterfully crafted the definitive story of Reckless, the great little Korean mare who so boldly served alongside Marines of the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, 5th Marine Regiment, in the Korean War carrying ammunition under enemy fire. Hutton has shared Reckless with the world, ensuring her bravery will never be forgotten."
Colonel Walt Ford, USMC (Ret.), publisher and editor, Leatherneck , Magazine of the Marines
"After reading Robin Hutton's stirring, heartfelt saga of the courageous, intelligent Sgt. Reckless, you wonder why she wasn’t promoted to general. Robin’s account evokes echoes of War Horse but this story of a great equine Marine is true. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and a box of tissues because traveling the road with Sgt. Reckless will take you to places you’ve never been before. Both Robin and her inspiration are to be commended."
Michael Blowen, former arts and film critic for The Boston Globe and founder and president of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement
"The Korean War is often referred to as 'the forgotten war,' but, among Marines, the memories of that bloody and frozen conflict are strewn with the names of heroes, brave actions, and incredible sacrifices. Robin’s new book about one of those forgotten warriors one with four legs and a quirky appetiteadds detail, drama, and color to the documentation of the Korean War. Her research has brought new information and depth to the story.
L in Ezell, director, National Museum of the Marine Corps
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