From the racetrack to the battlefield—dauntless, fearless, and exemplar of Semper Fi—she was Reckless, "pride of the Marines."
A Mongolian mare who was bred to be a racehorse, Ah-Chim-Hai, or Flame-of-the-Morning, belonged to a young boy named Kim-Huk-Moon. In order to pay for a prosthetic leg for his sister, Kim made the difficult decision to sell his beloved companion. Lieutenant Eric Pedersen purchased the bodacious mare and renamed her Reckless, for the Recoilless Rifles Platoon, Anti-Tank Division, of the 5th Marines she’d be joining.
The four-legged equine braved minefields and hailing shrapnel to deliver ammunition to her division on the frontlines. In one day alone, performing fifty-one trips up and down treacherous terrain, covering a distance of over thirty-five miles, and rescuing wounded comrades-in-arms, Reckless demonstrated her steadfast devotion to the Marines who had become her herd.
Despite only measuring about thirteen hands high, this pint-sized equine became an American hero. Reckless was awarded two Purple Hearts for her valor and was officially promoted to staff sergeant twice, a distinction never bestowed upon an animal before or since.
Author Robin Hutton has reignited excitement about this nearly forgotten legend, realizing the Sgt. Reckless Memorial Monument at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, completed in July 2013, and now spurring the creation of a second memorial at Camp Pendleton, California, where Reckless lived out the rest of her days.
The paperback edition includes a new foreword by General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. It will appeal to fans of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit, Elizabeth Letts' The Eighty Dollar Champion, and the feature film War Horse.
Meet the forgotten members of the Greatest Generation: the war animals who guarded American coasts against submarine attack, dug out Londoners trapped in bomb wreckage, and carried vital messages under heavy fire on Pacific islands during World War II. They kept up morale, rushed machine gun nests, and even sacrificed themselves picking up live grenades.
Now Robin Hutton, the bestselling author of Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse, tells the heartwarming stories of the dogs, horses, mules, pigeons—and even one cat—who did their bit for the war effort. American and British families volunteered beloved family pets and farm dogs to aid in the war effort; President Roosevelt was among many who bought honorary "commissions" in the reserves for their pets to raise money to defeat Hitler and Tojo. Many of these gallant animals are recipients of the prestigious Dickin Medal, the "Animals' Victoria Cross."
In War Animals: The Unsung Heroes of World War II you'll meet:
- Judy, the POW dog who helped her beloved human survive brutal Japanese prison camps
- Cher Ami, the pigeon who nearly died delivering a message that saved American troops from death by friendly fire
- Beauty, the "digging dog" who sniffed out Londoners buried in the wreckage of the Blitz—along with pets, including one goldfish still in its bowl!
- Olga, the horse who braved shattering glass to do her duty in London bombings
- Smoky, the Yorkshire terrier who did parachute jumps, laid communications wire through a pipe so small only she could navigate it, became the first therapy dog—and starred on a weekly TV show after the War
- Simon, the war cat whose campaign against the "Mao Tse Tung" of the rat world saved food supplies and his ship's crew
- Chips, who guarded Roosevelt and Churchill during the Casablanca Conference, and was the only dog to earn a Silver Star for his heroics
The shining loyalty and courage of these heroes is a testimony to the enduring bond between us and the animals we love.
America's highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor, was awarded to 440 deserving members of the "Greatest Generation" that served in World War II. But in 1943, before the war was even over, Allied leaders realized they needed another kind of award to recognize a different kind of World War II hero-animal heroes.
Founded in 1943, the prestigious PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award an animal can achieve for gallantry and bravery in the field of military conflict. It was given to fifty-five animals who served valiantly alongside the members of the Greatest Generation. In War Animals, nationally bestselling author Robin Hutton (Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse) tells the incredible, inspiring true stories of the fifty-five animal recipients of the PDSA Dickin Medal during WWII and the lesser-known stories of other military animals whose acts of heroism have until now been largely forgotten. These animal heroes includeG. I. Joe, who flew twenty miles in twenty minutes and stopped the planes on the tarmac from bombing a town that had just been taken over by allied forces, saving the lives of over one hundred British soldiers; Winkie, the first Dickin recipient, who saved members of a downed plane when she flew 129 miles with oil clogged wings with an SOS message that helped a rescue team find the crew; Chips, who served as a sentry dog for the Roosevelt-Churchill conference; andDing, a paradog whose plane was hit by enemy fire on D-Day, ended up in a tree, and once on the ground still saved lives.
A heartwarming and sometimes even hilarious history of hero birds, dogs, horses, and more, War Animals is a World War II story you've never read before.