CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A unique war hero was remembered Wednesday for her actions during the Korean War.
Hundreds turned out for the unveiling of a bronze statue of Staff Sgt. Reckless at Camp Pendleton. She was a rare female who served alongside the men on the battlefield, and some of those Marines were among the hundreds who turned out to honor her.
The Korean War has been called "The Forgotten War" because some legacies have faded. Those who were there, like retired Marine Sgt. Harold Wadley, remember the smells.
"All the blood," Wadley explained.
They remember the sounds.
"It's just deafening," he said.
They remember the sights.
"There's dirt in the air, there's shrapnel in the air, and there's just white burning smoke," he added.
It was raining mortar rounds.
"We lost a lot of good Marines, and corpsmen," he said as he hung his head.
The Marines did not plan to bring Staff Sgt. Reckless on board, but they needed help hauling ammunition from the supply points, up steep terrain, to the firing sites. She was a workhorse; she walked 35 miles in one day alone, and she almost always went alone.
Robin Sutton, president of Angels Without Wings, which donated the statue, heard her story in 2006.
"I Googled her name and found only four things on the internet. She had vanished from the pages of history," Sutton said.
Sutton made it her mission to tell the world.
"She just became one of them," Sutton said about Reckless.
She was a Marine to the very core.
"She ran into the fire because she knew her mission was to help her men get the ammunition up to the guns," Sutton added.
Shrapnel struck her two times, but she powered through.
Reckless pushed past the deafening blasts, which would have sent most horses running the other way. She made trip after trip, carrying injured and fallen troops. She was the reason so many Marines made it home.
She was a small horse one of the Marines bought in Korea for $250.
They just considered her another Marine.
"I'm just thankful that God had her there," Wadley added.
While they remember her, Staff Sgt. Reckless' legacy will now live on with the statue.
Reckless passed away in 1968 and was buried at Camp Pendleton with full military honors.