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Posted 6/27/2012

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By Ryan McClymont
San Francisco District

OAKLAND, Calif. — Allie Pearce celebrated her 16th birthday on June 22 by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the Oakland Athletics game against the San Francisco Giants at Oakland Coliseum. Her birthday was made a little less sweet since her father, Army Specialist Scott Pearce, is in Afghanistan for a year-long deployment.

Roughly 120 friends and family members, along with a sold out Bay Bridge Series crowd, cheered as she threw out the first pitch and then was directed to the Jumbotron for a surprise birthday greeting from her father in Afghanistan.

While she looked up at her father wishing her "happy birthday" from so far away, tears began to roll.

"I just started crying I was so happy," said Pearce. But the best was yet to come. As she turned to receive a personalized jersey from several A's players, she was greeted by the greatest gift of all, her father.

"I knew her 16th birthday was coming, and I couldn't miss it," said Pearce, who deployed to Afghanistan in December 2011. He contacted the A's in January to start planning the event.

"It was the best day ever," said Allie. "It was the best birthday present I could ask for."

Pearce, 40, is a Army reservist serving as a heavy equipment operator with the 721st Engineering Company based out of Grand Prairie, Texas, and also a seasonal engineering equipment operator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District.

At the end of his two-week rest and recuperation leave, Pearce will return to Afghanistan to finish his tour, which is scheduled to end later this fall.

721st Engineering Company Chicago District deployment San Francisco District soldier surprise US Army US Army Corps of Engineers USACE