At the South Mississippi Surgeons complex in Ocean Springs, September 11th turned into a day to celebrate. Ocean Springs surgeon Dr. Jack Sariego was home. And he got a hero's welcome at his office.
Because Dr. Sariego is an Air Force reservist, he was dispatched overseas to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The last three months, he ran a critical care air transport team. On five missions, Dr. Sariego few seriously injured soldiers out of war zones.
"The most gratifying part was just being there," Dr. Sariego said. "It may sound a bit idealistic, but that's the reality. Just being there and being a part of it."
The doctor said temperatures in the war region reached 130 degrees. The intense heat made him miss life at home.
He said he left his assignment with "a lot of memories and a lot of experiences that I won't soon forget."
Dr. Sariego brought back Enduring Freedom commemorative coins for his staff. He also gave them the American flag that he flew on every air transport mission.