A bronze statue depicting the little horse that became an American war hero will be unveiled next week.
The 1200-pound statue of the mare known as Sergeant Reckless, who served with distinction during the 1950s Korean War, will be dedicated near the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia, on July 26.
It will depict Sergeant Reckless climbing a hill – a nod her critical role in resupplying battling Marines with ammunition, and carrying injured servicemen on her trips back down from their position.
She ranks as one of America’s greatest war heroes for her deeds.
Sergeant Reckless was bought by a marine in Korea off a boy from a racetrack in 1952 for $US250, at the age of five.
Named Reckless after the platoon’s recoilless rifles, the little warhorse quickly became a legend.
She was put to work ferrying ammunition to the troops.
Her service was exemplary, and in the 1990s she was named by Life magazine among America’s top 100 heroes.
In one battle alone, Sergeant Reckless made 51 trips, unescorted, carrying a total of five tonnes of ammunition to the soldiers, carrying wounded soldiers back to base.
The little mare provided a great boost to morale every time she made it back up the mountain.
She was trained to step over communication cables, get down when there was incoming fire and to ignore the sounds of battle.
She was wounded twice, but that did not stop her.
Sergeant Reckless was promoted to Staff Sergeant Reckless in honour of her war efforts and she returned to the United States to live out her days at Camp Pendleton. She died in 1968.
Sergeant Reckless was a colourful character in her own right, and would hang out around the mess hall and tents when not carrying ammunition or soldiers.
She was a fan of beer, pickles and pancakes.
She was, for a time, a household name like Lassie, Seabiscuit and Mister Ed.
A small granite monument sits near the stable gates at Camp Pendleton in honour of her memory, but her fans have been fundraising to honour her in a more significant way.
They have been raising cash for two monuments, the first about to be unveiled at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and the second planned for Camp Pendleton, along with a proper graving marking at the camp.
More information: www.sgtreckless.com