March 2019 - Book Review
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 27 February 2019 04:36

bookreview

Sgt Reckless: America’s War Horse
Written by Robin Hutton
Reviewed by Marshall W Freeman

I recently finished reading a book about an amazing horse that I had never heard of before, but whose story will stick in my mind forever. I am the father of two daughters who led our young family into many wonderful adventures in the horse riding world, but that is about as close as I ever came to understanding horses. One of those daughters, Kim F Miller, is now managing editor of this magazine. The book, Sgt Reckless: American’s War Horse gave me an understanding of horse qualities I never would have dreamed of! I recommend it to anyone with an interest in equine characteristics.

A part of the forward to this book is quoted below, written by General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“When you consider that Reckless was a Mongolian horse, you shouldn’t be surprised by her solid performance on the battlefield. Her bloodline is that of a breed that goes back to the herds of the great Genghis Khan. Reckless certainly earned her stripes by carrying ammunition up to the firing positions along the ridgelines of Korea and carrying wounded Marines back down the hill to receive medical care. She often made the trips at great personal risk under fire. The apex of Reckless’s career came in March of 1973, when she made fifty-one trips, most of them solo, in a single day to resupply Marines fighting for OP Vegas.

She was twice wounded in combat and returned to the United States in 1954 wearing the rank of Sergeant.

“Few today recall how famous Sergeant Reckless was in her day. The Saturday Evening Post recorded the details of her battlefield heroism right up there with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King and John Wayne.  This book does an excellent job of capturing the character of Sergeant Reckless through the stories of the Marines who served with her. The Marines are famous for never leaving one of their own behind, and I’m exceptionally grateful to Robin Hutton for keeping Reckless’s story alive. Due to her efforts, Sergeant Reckless will forever be remembered as one of the greatest war horses in history.”

Released in 2014, Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse made the New York Times best seller list and received the American Horse Publication’s Best Equine Book award that year. Its California author Robin Hutton further revived interest in Reckless’ legendary life by helping arrange monuments to the horse, including the statue installed at San Diego’s Camp Pendleton Marine Base in 2016.

Reckless was awarded two purple hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation with a bronze star, the National Defense Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Korea Medal, a Navy Unit Commendation, a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and, posthumously, was awarded the Dickin Medal.

After serving in the Korean War, Reckless’ final duty station was Camp Pendleton where she stayed until her death in 1968. Reckless was buried with full military honors.

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