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Day-old Desmond Virgil greeted visitors and accepted congratulations as Yokosuka’s “New Year’s Baby” Tuesday at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka. Virgil’s parents are Petty Officer 2nd Class Tinel Martin, pictured, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Virgil.

Day-old Desmond Virgil greeted visitors and accepted congratulations as Yokosuka’s “New Year’s Baby” Tuesday at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka. Virgil’s parents are Petty Officer 2nd Class Tinel Martin, pictured, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Virgil. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — One might say Desmond Virgil won by a nose. Or that he came out ahead. Or one might just gently shake his little fingers and make cooing noises.

Weighing in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces, Desmond emerged around 10 a.m. Jan. 1 to capture the title of “New Year’s Baby” at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka with a full head of hair.

Unofficially, he’s the first military baby born on the Japanese mainland in 2007.

At U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, a baby girl was born at 3:54 a.m. on Jan. 1. And in South Korea, the first baby celebration at the 121st Combat Support Hospital had to wait until 12:29 a.m. Jan. 2 for the arrival of a baby girl. The Okinawa and South Korea hospitals did not have any more information Tuesday on their new arrivals.

At Yokosuka, Desmond didn’t seem to realize his feat and slept through the interview. But he did smile for the camera.

Mother Petty Officer 2nd Class Tinel Martin and father Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Virgil, both corpsmen at the hospital, hadn’t planned on ringing in the new year with a new baby — Desmond’s winning appearance came 10 days earlier than scheduled.

“He showed up a little early,” Martin said. “We were at home doing our New Year’s cleaning when I felt the contractions.”

Much will be new this year around their household, as this is the married couple’s first child.

“It’s exciting having the New Year’s baby, but it’s exciting having him, period,” Martin said.

Her New Year’s resolution? “To learn how to be a good mommy,” she said. The hospital gave the couple a “first baby” gift and a special “first baby” stocking. Around the ward, hospital staff said New Year’s babies are symbolic.

“They symbolize new life in the new year,” said Lt. j.g. John Hoyos. “And you hope that all your best New Year’s wishes go with them.”

It’s not a coincidence that babies grace New Year’s cards and decorations, he said.

“The New Year’s baby is special for everyone,” Hoyos said.


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