Jerry Suitor and Paddy
Honey Grove, Texas
In Honor Of: Paddy – Scout Dog
I was with the 38th Scout Dog plt. and served as a dog handler. My Dogs name was Paddy a 1/4 German Shepherd. The 38th IPSD arrived in Vietnam as part of the 25th Division’s 2nd Brigade. The platoon was headquartered at the Division Base Camp in Cu Chi about 45 miles north of Saigon. The Area of Operations was primarily in northern III Corps extending from the Cambodia border east to Xuan Loc. An IPSD consisted of one officer, and 27 enlisted personnel of which approximately 20 were dog handlers of mostly German Shepherd dogs. The mission of an IPSD was to support tactical operations by detecting enemy forces through the unique capabilities of the Scout Dog. A Scout Dog Team consisted of one German Shepherd and the handler. When requested the Scout Dog Team joined an infantry unit and served as their “eyes and ears” giving a silent early warning. The Scout Dog Team walked “point” (out front) for the unit, looking for booby traps, trip wires, ambushes, hidden caches of food or weapons, snipers etc. When the dog alerted, the handler passed the information to the patrol leader who then moved his troops forward.
Most often the scout dog and his handler would serve as the point of a unit on the move. Scout dogs also proved their value in night ambush operations giving the unit early warning of an approaching enemy, or enemy fighters hiding underwater, with only reed breathing straws showing above the waterline.
The dog’s keen senses of smell and hearing would make them far more effective at detecting these dangers than humans. The best scout dogs are described as having a disposition intermediate to docile tracking dogs and aggressive attack dogs. The scout dogs, signaling the presence of the enemy in time for the unit to react, saved countless lives. But serving as the point was dangerous work and both the handlers and the dogs were sometimes casualties. Documents have been found on captured Viet Cong offering a reward for the Scout Dog first then the Handler. The Scout Dog was called the four footed radar of Viet Nam.