Many United States Marine units have a live animal mascot. Sergeant Reckless was something far greater than that. In the Korean War, a girl stepped on a land mine and lost her leg. In order to buy her a prosthetic limb, the girl’s brother sold the local Marine unit a chestnut Mongolian mare named Flame-in-the-Morning for $250.
The Marines renamed her Reckless after the nickname they gave their weapons: ‘reckless rifles’. Reckless helped her new owners by carrying antitank ammunition to the front lines. This quickly carved her a place in both history and in the hearts of her fellow Marines.
Fearless in the presence of guns and cannon fire, Reckless was trained to drop to the ground and even avoid trip wires. During the Battle of Outpost Vegas, Reckless carried 4,100 kilograms (9,000 lbs) of ammunition to the front lines. This required her to make an amazing 51 round trips—in one day!
Friendly and revered by the Marines in her unit, Reckless would eat scrambled eggs and pudding, drink soda and beer, and generally act like any other soldier. The Marines thought so highly of Reckless, they even promoted her to the rank of Staff Sergeant. After the Saturday Evening Post published a story about Sergeant Reckless, she was brought to the United States and retired at Camp Pendleton in California. A bronze statue of her now stands at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.