SAN DIEGO - In October 1952, little did the Marines of a recoilless rifle platoon in Korea know they were buying a future legend for $250.
Marines were looking for a pack animal and found Sgt. Reckless, a horse that would soon become part of the legacy of the Marine Corps.
"There are generations of Marines who if it weren't for her, would not be here," said Debbie McCain.
As a little girl, McCain would befriend the horse at the stables at Camp Pendleton.
Reckless, named after the recoilless rifle, hauled loads of medical supplies and ammunition to Marines in combat.
"She made more than 50 trips in one day during one battle and carried wounded Marines back to camp," McCain said.
Wounded twice during the war, Sgt. Reckless was eventually brought to Camp Pendleton and promoted to staff sergeant.
She died in 1968 but other than a small monument at the entry to the stables, there was nothing else in her honor, until now.
A full statue of her will be unveiled during ceremonies at Marine headquarters in Virginia Friday.
"It means that finally, we are going to honor a Marine who has long been forgotten and who is a true American hero," McCain said.
The ceremony Friday will be part of a larger one to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War on Saturday.