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Securing Thule from air to sea

Securing Thule from air to sea

Staff Sgt. Jake Davis and Aazuro, 821st Security Forces Squadron military working dog team, sweep their area of responsibility for potential risks at Thule Air Base, Greenland, July 18, 2019. Davis and Aazuro are stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, with the 21st SFS. The squadron sends a MWD team to Greenland to provide security throughout the year and especially during port season. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

Securing Thule from air to sea

Staff Sgt. Jake Davis and Aazuro, 821st Security Forces Squadron military working dog team, sweep their area of responsibility for potential risks at Thule Air Base, Greenland, July 18, 2019. Davis and Aazuro have been a team for almost a year. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow)

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland --

With a base that operates the Department of Defense’s northernmost deep-water seaport and a 10,000-foot runway with its associated airfield, Airmen of the 821st Air Base Group at Thule Air Base, Greenland, need to feel safe and secure to accomplish their mission.

This is where Staff Sgt. Jake Davis, 821st Security Forces Squadron, and Military Working Dog Aazuro, come in.

Davis has been a MWD handler for nine years and has trained 12 four-legged members of the security forces squadron.

Aazuro is a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois and has been by Davis’ side for almost a year.

Davis is stationed with the 21st Security Forces Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The squadron sends a MWD team to Greenland to provide security throughout the year and especially during port season.

Port season is essential in resupplying mission-essential resources to the Airmen of the 821st Air Base Group. Thule receives between nine and 12 ships during port season.

“Aazuro and I are here to provide security at Thule’s port,” Davis said. “Aazuro will search cargo ships and the containers before the items are released to the group.”

Aazuro doesn’t just search for contraband on ships; he also searches and secures the airfield and several restricted areas, such as locations within the 12th Space Warning Squadron.

Although searching areas is something Aazuro and Davis do on a daily basis, Davis says being at Thule is different from home station or deployments.

“Being here is a learning environment for both of us,” Davis said. “There is a vast difference between Greenland with the snowy and rocky terrain, extreme low temperatures and all-day sunlight or night. Deployments in the Middle East have extreme high temperatures with sandstorms.”

Both Davis and Aazuro have acclimated to the spring weather in Greenland and have learned many things in their short time at Thule.

“Aazuro is more comfortable with his surroundings,” Davis said. “He has learned not everyone is a threat.”

Each handler given a MWD learns something, and that is no different for Davis.

“Each dog has taught me something,” Davis said. “I have been a handler for years and I have worked with several dogs, but Aazuro has taught me patience.”

A unique fact about Aazuro is that Capt. Glenn Bowersox, 821st Security Forces Squadron commander, and his wife, Yasmin, fostered him when he was a puppy from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

“I enjoyed fostering Aazuro,” Yasmin said. “He had everything you are looking for in a working dog puppy. His motivation to work for the rewards was great and his ability to do bite work was incredible. Working with him to prepare him for his military career was fun. I always told him [Aazuro] if he decided kennel life isn’t up to his standards, he could come to my house and work with me.”

Aazuro will not always be Davis’s partner. For now they will continue to build rapport and accomplish the mission at hand.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui