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Combat Trackers in Vietnam | The German Shepherd

This brings us to our next kind of dog in Vietnam – the Combat Tracker Teams, or CTTs. These consisted of a much larger group – one dog, either German Shepherd dog or Labrador – a handler, a Visual Tracker, a Team Leader, and a cover man. These Combat Tracker Teams were needed when it came time for the unit to establish contact with the enemy. The team would work together – the dog would track down the scent (or, occasionally, sight) of whatever the Combat Tracker Team was looking for – a downed pilot, a wounded soldier, or even, in some cases, the enemy.

The dog would have to keenly distinguish among the myriad smells of the jungle to distinguish the body odor or blood trail of the individual sought by the Team; the highly sensitive and trained nose of the German Shepherd dog thus made it a perfect candidate for this kind of mission. These dogs were sometimes trained, like the Scouts, in Georgia (at Fort Gordon), but others were trained in Malaysia at the JWS – the British Jungle Warfare School.

Similar to that of the role as a scout dog during Vietnam, the German excelled tremendously as part of the Combat Tracker Teams, proving once again how capable this breed truly was.

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