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Marine visits grandfather, Fuji

Date Posted: 2004-02-26

YOKOHAMA, Japan It all began on April 17, 1983 in Washington, D.C. Norio Sato and Junko Sato gave birth to a boy named Mitsuo Satoh.

According to Satoh, he grew up in Long Island and New York City, speaking both Japanese and English fluently, and even though he was halfway across the globe, he still kept close ties with his relatives in Japan.

But in the fall of 2002, Satoh joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed as a comptroller at Camp Kinser on Okinawa, Japan. Due to his situation, Satoh felt he would not be able to visit any of his family members in mainland Japan.

However, a representative approached him recently from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, who wanted him to go to Camp Fuji for Combined Arms Operation 04-2 and to Sendai, Japan for Exercise Forest Light as a Japanese interpreter.

Within a matter of a few days, Satoh, now a lance corporal in the Marine Corps, packed his bags and was on his way to Fuji.

Upon arrival to Camp Fuji, he was informed of liberty opportunities in some of the nearby cities. When he heard that, he knew it would be his chance to visit with his grandfather in Yokohama.

"I felt this would be a good chance to meet with my grandfather because I have not seen him since June 2002, and that was before I joined the Marine Corps," Satoh said.

Satoh met with his maternal grandfather, Shinji Ohtsuki, at his apartment in Yokohama, where the two talked about the past, caught up on lost time, watched the sumo wrestling championships and discussed current events.

Ohtsuki immediately expressed his pleasure to see his grandson and how proud he is of the man he has become.

"I am always happy to see him and know he is doing well," Ohtsuki said. "Seeing him happy makes me happy."

Satoh also said he was happy the two had a chance to see each other for the first time in almost two years.

"Being able to make the trip to Yokohama and see my grandpappy was awesome," he said. "It's always good to see my family."

Satoh also expressed a desire to visit with some of his other relatives living in Japan as well.

"I hope to see as many of them as I can since I have the opportunity to do so on the weekends," Satoh said.

Satoh thought that being stationed on Okinawa with a rotation date in June would prevent him from being able to see his Japanese relatives during his Marine Corps career. But the opportunity that has been presented to him during the operation at Fuji has enabled him to enjoy something priceless...family.

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