Navy trauma surgeon served in Iraq and Afghanistan was activated again to help in battle against COVID-19

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- ABC7 salutes a Navy captain who goes above the call of duty, again and again. Capt. Jonathan Pryor served as a trauma surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan. And last year, he was activated again, to help in the battle against COVID-19.

Pryor has been a trauma surgeon at Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach for nearly five years - but has been saving lives a lot longer than that after becoming a Navy reservist in 1997.

"I went to Iraq in 2008. I went to Afghanistan in 2012 and I went to New York last spring for the COVID response," said Dr. Pryor.

Dr. Pryor was stationed at the Javits Center in New York City, when a lot still wasn't known about the potentially deadly virus.

"I don't get scared easily but I was very scared this time last year," said Dr. Pryor. "COVID is just unlike anything a military member is accustomed to seeing."

Soon after his return home, Dr. Pryor contracted COVID-19 himself... bad enough he was hospitalized at St. Mary.

Fully recovered, he's back to work taking care of general surgery and trauma patients.

Looking back on his career - he's remembering what a mentor once warned him about.

"You're juggling your real job, your Navy job and your family, and one of the three is always going to be mad at you," said Dr. Pryor.

But it's a ride he's enjoyed. And for us, it's an honor to salute him and share his story.

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