Staff Sergeant Reckless - CODAworx

Staff Sergeant Reckless

Submitted by Bronze Icons LLC

Client: United States Marine Corps Museum

Location: Marine Corps Base Quantico,, USA

Completion date: 2013

Artwork budget: $165,000

Project Team


Jocelyn Russell

Bronze Icons, LLC


Robin Hutton

Art Consultant

Bob Rogers


Art Consultant

Harold Wadley


United States Marine Corps

United States Marine Corps


Staff Sergeant Reckless, a highly decorated war horse who served with the U.S. Marines during the Korean War, was honored with a life-size bronze monument at the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Virginia. 

In just one day of a five-day battle in March 1953, the Korean war horse made 51 solo trips carrying wounded soldiers and almost five tons of ammunition to the front lines under heavy fire. Wounded twice, she later received two Purple Hearts along with many other military decorations. 


The creative spark for this design came from early written accounts and first hand tales of those who served with this remarkable horse. Korean war veteran, Harold Wadley, remembers watching this bold mare take to the trail by herself, laden with ammunition on an ill-fitting pack saddle. Climbing the first section of the switchback trail ( a forty-five degree incline gaining 250 feet in elevation) Reckless would stop to catch her breath at the summit. Harold remembers seeing her silhouetted in the flickering flare light surrounded by intense fire and chaos. I wanted to depict her struggle, alone on the war torn trail, straining uphill under her heavy load, with all the grace a dignity of a four-legged hero truly loved by her fellow Marines.


Robin Hutton had a dream to honor this remarkable war horse with a bronze monument at the Marine Corps Museum. Bob Rogers was one of the marines that served with reckless, he was a patron and friend of Jocelyn's and recommended her for the project. Harold Wadley also served with SSgt. Reckless and provided incredible details of both mares fearless personality as well as the munitions she carried and the tack it was loaded on. Dubbing ourselves Team Reckless, the lot of us managed to volley innumerable group emails to each other, pinning down details of her height, weight, shoe size and favorite beer. I truly felt there were days that she was guiding my hand on the clay.

Additional Information

When my sculpting was finished and she was ready for the foundry, the freight truck came to pick her up at my studio. The freighters and I rolled a 500 pound crate up the ramp and slammed the door. As they left the drive, I turned to face an empty studio floor, and through the tears, came to understand how much this project has meant, and how Reckless continues to touch us all.