US Marine Corps horse honored for Korean War valor

Horse Haldalgo, representing life-saving US Marine horse Sergeant Reckless who served with the US Marine Corps during the Korean War, is awarded with the PDSA Dickin Medal watched by Sergeant Mark Gostling in London, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Reckless, who survived one of the bloodiest battles in modern military history, has today been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal – known as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross – for her bravery and devotion to duty during the Korean war 1950 until 1953. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON (AP) — A U.S. Marine Corps horse who served during some of the bloodiest fighting of the Korean War has been posthumously decorated for bravery.

Sgt. Reckless was awarded the Dickin Medal during a ceremony at the Korean War Memorial in London on Wednesday, the 63rd anniversary of the end of the war.

A serving British Army horse stood in for the late Reckless at the ceremony.

The chestnut Mongolian mare served as an ammunitions carrier for the marines’ anti-tank division. She made repeated strips to supply ammunition and retrieve wounded troops under heavy bombardment during the battle for Outpost Vegas in March 1953.

After the war, Reckless retired to the United States and died in 1968 at age 20. She was nominated by a historian who wrote a biography about her.

Reckless is the 68th recipient of the medal, awarded by the PDSA veterinary charity and billed as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross — Britain’s top award for military valor.

Since 1943, the medal has recognized gallantry by animals serving with the military, police or rescue services.

Almost half the recipients have been dogs, including a World War II commando collie who made more than 20 parachute jumps. The medal has also gone to police horses, carrier pigeons and, once, to a cat — a Royal Navy ship’s mascot who carried on rat-catching while the vessel was shelled and besieged in China in 1949.

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