Program: Courage Under Fire
Richard Rothwell, a retired Colonel in the US Marine Crops, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the Naval Academy and a Master of Science in Management from the United States Naval Post Graduate School. He is a distinguished graduate of the United States Naval War College. His service decorations include the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars with Combat V, two Purple Hearts, and the Navy Commendation Medal. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1990 with the grade of colonel.
Following his military career Dick served for 15 years as the legal administrator of the San Diego Gas and Electric Company and Sempra Energy law departments. He has been a Director of the Pacific Marine Credit Union and its predecessor, Marine Corps West Federal Credit Union, since 1991 and is serving presently as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is a co-founder and current President of the Camp Pendleton Historical Society..
Richard told the story of a horse in the Korean War named Reckless. During the Korean War one of the weapons, the 75 mm recoilless rifle, was usually carried by a crew of soldiers. It was a heavy weapon and the terrain in Korea was very rugged.
The idea to use a pack horse to carry the rifle was tried. A horse from the Seoul race track was obtained and trained for the task of carrying the recoilless rifle in the battle zone, particularly in the rugged mountainous terrain. The horse performed gallantly and became a hero in his own right.
Reckless seemed to internalize a sense of purpose to the missions he was asked to perform, and achieved beyond all expectations. On one particular mission, Reckless made 51 trips to the forward gun positions, carrying a cumulative weight of over 9,000 lbs. of gear, with a total distance for that day of 35 miles.
The horse returned to the United States to a hero's welcome and treatment. Just recently a statue to commemorate Reckless's service was placed in his honor on Camp Pendleton.
Richard concluded his presentation with the urging for the Rotary members to get involved in the Camp Pendleton Historical Society.