From the Frontlines: Capt. Aaron Tritch

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
While deployed to the frontlines, physical fitness is important. It provides strength to endure the toughest situations handed to the individual. Maintaining mental fitness is just as important. Who helps service members maintain mental health while on the frontlines?

Capt. Aaron Tritch, a 509th Medical Operations Squadron clinical psychologist, was assigned to a joint expeditionary taskingĀ along sideĀ the Army at Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq, during his deployment Oct. 3, 2009, to March 25.

As chief of psychological services at the COB, Captain Tritch had a variety of duties that involved psychological principles and techniques to problems of human effectiveness, maladjustment and psychological disturbances.

Although he was based at a clinic, he often visited joint security stations and forward operating bases.

"As a clinical psychologist, I am trained to be clinic bound - to see patients, to diagnose and to treat them." said Captain Tritch. "The difference while deployed was the amount of outreach we did. We had to be accessible, because patients couldn't come to us.

"We regularly rotated through our area of operations and hit the outlining areas," he said. "We went on convoys and were able to fly in the helicopters, which were both exciting."

Whether in the clinic or out at a smaller station, his work kept him busy.

"We performed a lot of therapeutic work out there, ranging from intervention work such as sleep, marital and relationship problems to smoking cessation and stress management," he said.

Capt. Tritch said he often partnered with an Army psychiatrist to provide additional therapeutic intervention help and, if needed, prescribe and supply medications.

"The Army seemed to carry a lot of old trauma, or difficult experiences and memories from previous deployments," he said. "It was interesting ... hearing all the stories, and seeing the war through their eyes."

He said that having Soldiers trust him enough to share their stories was a great experience.

"The Soldiers tended to be very appreciative when we would fly to their units," he said. "They expressed how grateful they were every time we would visit."

With their appreciation came improvement.

"The best part of my deployment was seeing the direct effect," said Captain Tritch. "You could see where it fit into the mission and how the patients improved within their functions."