Reading List (Update):  a Story of a USMC Horse

By | October 14, 2022

[October 14, 2022]  Yes, I ride horses.  Now, I’m no expert and I don’t profess a great knowledge of horses but there are some slices of knowledge that I see as important.  First, horses – similar to dogs and cats – have been tightly woven into human history.  Their links to humankind is obvious; a mode of travel, working in agriculture, part of the war reconnaissance, delivering supplies, and a long list that makes horses particularly helpful and necessary for our survival.  I try to ride weekly, and when I missed my ride this week, I just didn’t seem myself.  So truthfully, there is something more about horses and humans that can be explained in the “utilitarian” use of horses.  There is a deeper psychological connection, perhaps biological that explains our links.  Today’s article is about one of those horses with a deep connection to us.

SGT. Reckless: America’s War Horse, Robin Hutton, 2015

This book is a wonderful story of a horse and the United States Marine Corps.  SGT. Reckless may not have much to see (a small Mongolian mare) but she had the blood of a champion and much more.  She was a war hero.  Sadly, she has largely been forgotten.  But she was once famous, appearing as late as 1997 in Life Magazine.  Reckless became a combat Marine, earning staff sergeant’s stripes before her retirement to Camp Pendleton.  One person wrote that this is a book for horse lovers and military historians alike.  It is a very thorough telling of the complicated story of a young race mare turned ammo carrier and herdmate for a Marine regiment.  Reckless’ people-pleasing personality and true commitment to her ‘herd’ of Marines even under fire in the Korean War makes this story amazing.  But the love the Marines had for their tough little red mare and how even the top brass recognized the bond and thought a horse important enough to bring home after the war makes this story unstoppable.

I enjoyed both parts of the tale – a mare does her duty in war and serves with pride even after the battle is over.  Men recall their battle buddy (who just happened to be a horse) with fondness as both a source of comfort and a much-needed laugh, and as an inspiration to great heights of courage and fidelity.  There are many horse stories of great sacrifice.  This one also is about the love between those who have survived something great and horrible, and come home to heal and live their ordinary-looking lives.  Not only did this little mare prove her worth but to say she proved her weight in gold is an understatement. She became so important during the heat of war that the marines actually used their own flak jackets to cover her to protect her. She carried tons of gun ammo, but she carried injured men back down this very steep hill.  Great book.

Highly recommended.


Please read my newest book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

To go to the complete Professional Reading list, click on this direct link:

Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog.  His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here:

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Reading List (Update):  a Story of a USMC Horse

  1. Good Dog

    Great book. Only took me two days to read it and I read rather slowly. Highly recommended. Just like GEN. Satterfield likes to say.

  2. Bird Man

    Excellent book! I read it a couple of years ago and had forgotten about SGT. Reckless. Wonderful story. The best!

  3. DocJeff

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield for your long-running series on Book Reviews and also for the recommendations you give. I’ve never been disappointed in the books you highlight for us. Keep up the great work you are doing on this award winning leadership website.

  4. Newbie in Seattle

    “Wherever a man has left his footprints in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization, we find the hoof print of a horse beside it” – John Trotwood Moore

    1. Steve Dade

      People own or lease horses, and even more participate in the sport of horseback riding. that’s me!

  5. Colleen Ramirez

    Horses have played a variety of vital roles in societies over the millennia, including ones related to diet, transportation, work, religion, property and commodities, military service, status, and sports.

  6. Pumpkin Spice

    …. another great story from our military history … and I ride horses too.

    1. Big Al

      Horses are great.
      The Horse-Human Relationship: From Prehistory to Today
      In the beginning—nearly 4 million years ago—equids and humans coexisted and traveled along the same paths in ancient territories located in modern-day Tanzania. This coexistence was, said one expert, the starting point of a long and deep bispecies relationship that’s had a critical role in shaping today’s world.

  7. Frontier Man

    I never heard of the book, like so many others and I wonder why because I do dabble in military history and I figured i was pretty well informed. Oh well, I will be at my local library tomorrow (weekends only) to check it out.

    1. Dennis Mathes

      Me too, library first. But I checked on line and my library doesn’t have it but they will order it. I’ll get a call in a couple of weeks. Then, I get my chance to read it. SGT Reckless, great title for the book. Just another note to say thanks to Gen. Satterfield, my eyes have been opened a little more.

  8. USA Patriot II

    Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for another great recommendation. Reading is good.

  9. Wild Bill

    Hey, Gen. Satterfield, thanks for recommending the book. I’d never heard of it before and I’m a regular rider of wonderful horses. Thanks!!!!!

  10. Rowen Tabernackle

    Great story. I will ask GEN. Satterfield if he would make this a weekly feature, at least. And put it on another tab or make it a regular Friday feature. Just thinking to draw more to your great leadership website.

    1. Stacey Borden

      Good recommendation, Rowen. I agree. This should be a regular part of his website and at least weekly.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        I agree. This is a great story and the book is a best seller. I ordered my copy today. 😊

        1. Shawn C. Stolarz

          Yep, I did also. I want my own copies of books that Gen. Satterfield recommends. I’ve never been disappointed with this recommendations.

      2. Dern McCabe

        It is interesting to look at the evolution of the relationship between humans and horses. I know many people who love their horses as much as their actual family, there are definitely special bonds shared between owners and horses.


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