There is a small independent bookstore, Blue Heron Books, in a town near me that I like to support. So recently I went in to find a book for my four year old Grandson. The array of children’s book was amazing and I did not know what to choose. Then I saw this.
I have posted before about Sgt. Reckless , a hero of the Korean war, as part of my Remembrance/Veterans Day tributes to War Horses. And now….here was a children’s book about this amazing horse! I opened it up and was not disappointed. Here is an excerpt.
“US Marines were exhausted from hauling ammunition uphill to the powerful new cannon nicknamed “the reckless rifle”. That’s when their leader, Lt. Erik Pedersen, had an idea. What if we could get a mule to carry the shells?
But all Lt. Pedersen could find was a scrawny chestnut mare with a white blaze and three matching socks. She wasn’t much but she reminded him of a horse he’d had as a boy so he took a chance on her.”
The story goes on from there to tell how they trained the mare, who they called Private Reckless. The wonderful illustrations show it well.
Reckless learned how to survive in a war zone and how to carry telegraph wire and ammunition back and forth, on her own, to the battle ground. Her courage was most called upon in the battle of Outpost Vegas. Here is another excerpt.
“Without a word of urging she broke into a trot and then a gallop.The heavy shells banged against her sides and she climbed the steep incline.The first rays of dawn were lighting the sky as she arrived at the top of the trail her flanks heaving. The sky was full of smoke. Shells whizzed by and cannons boomed. All day Reckless marched up and down the windy path hauling her load. As she passed her fellow marines along the way they gave her their chocolate bars to keep up her strength.”
This little mare knew that lives depended on her and she fought alongside the marines as bravely as any among them. She also had a voracious appetite and after she invaded the cooks tent they started to serve her breakfast along with the marines—-including scrambled eggs!
Reckless was decorated and promoted to Sergeant for her service. She retired to the US and lived at Camp Pendleton where she still got eggs for breakfast.
“Sgt. Reckless, the little mare who became a marine, is the only animal to officially hold military rank. She retired with full military honors and was awarded two Purple Hearts and the rank of Staff Sergeant.Her story is a testament to the mysterious bond between humans and animals and a proof of the Marine Corps motto : Semper Fidelis –Ever Faithful”
Of course I bought the book! It is a marvelous children’s story well told by Patricia McCormick and beautifully illustrated by Iacopo Bruno. I feel quite certain that my Grandson will love it.