ERBIL, IQ. –
Two Soldiers of the 1972d Medical Detachment run an operation that helps ensure warfighters are mentally fit and ready to face any challenge. Even though it's a small team, they make a lasting and significant impact.
The 1972d Medical Detachment, U.S. Army Reserve, of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., provides direct support combat and operational stress control (COSC) prevention and treatment services. Currently deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, the detachment provides services where needed throughout the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
1st Lt. Lori Blakeway is the officer in charge of the Erbil team, and Sgt. Cory Nottingham is an occupational therapy specialist assistant. As a civilian she works for the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs as a couple and family therapist, and he's a heavy equipment operator.
"Unit leaders have been very receptive to feedback and very supportive of our role in keeping Soldiers healthy and mentally fit," said Blakeway.
The Erbil team provides several options that are available to Soldiers; stress management, sleep health, food nutrition, and behavioral health triage, to name a few. They teach monthly classes on prevention for leaders and units that request their services.
Nottingham also created a nutritional class to help combat mental health but also help Soldiers with a healthy lifestyle.
"Everyone wants stress management, but food sets your mood — and it's important we remember and refine that," Nottingham said.
They do "walkabouts" to get out and see how Soldiers are doing and build relationships with them to help enforce awareness of the COSC's presence.
"We just want to be here for them," said Blakeway. "We are here to keep Soldiers healthy, that is our job, that's why we are here."