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Mami Dolberry proudly holds her son Mikoto, the first baby born at an overseas U.S. military base in the Pacific in 2004, in her room and Naval Hospital Yokosuka on Friday. Father Mitchell Dolberry, of Fleet Technical Support Center, and Morgan, the baby’s 2-year-old brother, are also pictured.

Mami Dolberry proudly holds her son Mikoto, the first baby born at an overseas U.S. military base in the Pacific in 2004, in her room and Naval Hospital Yokosuka on Friday. Father Mitchell Dolberry, of Fleet Technical Support Center, and Morgan, the baby’s 2-year-old brother, are also pictured. (Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Mikito Dolberry didn’t seem too excited about his fame.

He just kept sleeping as everybody else admired him in his blue- and pink-striped cap, wearing his mother’s turquoise fleece jacket as a blanket.

Mikito is apparently the first baby born in 2004 in a Pacific military hospital.

He was born at 1:05 p.m. Jan. 1 after his mother, Mami, labored with him nine hours in an otherwise quiet maternity ward at the base hospital. He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 20.75 inches long.

In addition to his mother, he joined his father, Mitch, his big brother, Morgan, 2, who on Friday was sleeping on two chairs pulled together in the hospital room.

The whole family seemed a little tired early Friday, but Mami, 36, was awake. “I’m great,” she said. “I’m good,” said Mikito’s father, a 34-year-old petty officer first class gunner’s mate, and the only family member not lying down.

The couple has been married nearly five years. They met in Yokosuka. Mitch speaks only a little Japanese, and his wife speaks only a little English.

They said their second son’s birth was much different from their first son’s when Mitch was stationed on board the USS Vincennes. Mami went to her parents’ home in Shiga-Ken to have the baby. Morgan was delivered by Caesarian section after 17 hours of labor, and it took his father six hours to get to the hospital.

But Mitch, with 13 years in the Navy, has shore duty now so he and Mami were able to go to the hospital from base housing together at 4 a.m. Thursday.

They took a more casual approach in other ways as well, they said. “The first baby — we went to a lot of classes,” Mitch said. “This time it was, ‘Well, we’ve got another baby coming.’ We just stocked up on diapers and supplies.”

As Mami delivered Mikito — she said his name means “ocean sound” — Mitch was by her side offering encouragement. “She did tell me to shut up a couple of times,” he said. “But I was kind of expecting that.”

Sometime after the birth, the family had an unusual visitor: professional wrestler Bill Goldberg, who had met a hospital corpsman at Narita Airport, where he’d flown to for a Japanese New Year’s event.

Goldberg told the corpsman he’d love to tour the base, and before long, he was signing autographs for fans on the USS Kitty Hawk and visiting hospital patients.

The Dolberrys weren’t expecting to see the hulking, glistening-headed figure in their hospital room, but when one set of grandparents is in Tennessee and the other is in Shiga-Ken, a visitor is a visitor. “Neither one of us is a wrestling fan,” Mitch said. “Although, I’ve seen him on TV, of course.”

In the United States, the first babies of the year are traditionally showered with free diapers, strollers and other largesse, the Dolberrys seemed very much on their own and said they hadn’t heard of any special gifts or baskets coming their way.

Hospital spokesman Bill Doughty said various base organizations often put together gifts for new babies, but he was unaware of anything special happening for Mikito and his family.

New babies are a common occurrence at Yokosuka’s base hospital. About 550 babies are born there each year, according to officials.

Yokosuka was also the birthplace of last year’s first Pacific military baby.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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