CAMARILLO (CBSLA.com) — A Camarillo surgeon is about to put his practice on hold for almost a year to serve overseas in the Navy Reserves.

Greg Albaugh is one of Ventura County’s top vascular surgeons. In a matter of weeks, he will leave his private practice, wife and two teenage sons for a nine-month post overseas.

“I guess I’m a patriot, and somebody’s got to do it,” said the Navy Reserve officer. “Surgeons don’t stay on the shelf very long.”

He first got the call in May and was told he would be part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Djibouti. “I had to look it up on a map,” Albaugh said.

Djibouti is a small country in the horn of Africa where American and NATO troops are fighting Somali pirates, who fired on a Navy chopper in 2009.

Albaugh originally joined the Navy at 19. The military paid for two years of his medical school. He resigned his commission 10 years ago. But he said something kept calling him back, so he applied to be a reservist.

“That patriotism is still there. It was discussed with the family. “I said OK, I’ll do it.” The surgeon said he is taking a huge pay cut to be a reservist, but it is about doing his small part.

“Going over there and taking care of the kids that are actually out there working and fighting the fight and protecting us and America and all the stuff that we have here. I’m the guy that’s going to take care of them if they get hurt. And that’s awesome,” he said.

Although Albaugh said his patients have been mostly supportive, he said he started his practice from scratch and will do it again if he has to when he returns.

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