Sgt. Joshua Gall embraces his son, Alamo Elementary School kindergartener Jayden Gall, after surprising him at school, home during a seven-week deployment.Jayden takes in the fact that he's seeing his dad in person for the first time in a year-and-a-half.Jayden beams as his father reads. Sgt. Gall was the day's Mystery Reader, all part of reading month activities at the school.Sgt. Gall reads to the class; Jayden is in the plaid shirt in the foreground.

Marine surprises kindergartener son after returning from deployment

By: 
Ryan Lewis, editor

(UPDATED with link to video) Kindergarteners in Jayden Gall's class at Otsego Public Schools' Alamo Elementary School had a 'Mystery Reader' this morning (Wednesday, March 11) as part of March as Reading Month activities. For the 6-year-old, however, it was a special surprise.

The reader was his father, Sgt. Joshua Gall, surprising his son having just returned from deployment overseas.

Deployed at sea with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit for seven months in such far-flung locales as Singapore, Kuwait and Djibouti, all near the Arabian Sea, the Marine said he had last seen his son in person a year-and-a-half ago.

He said he gets to speak with his son and 2-year-old daughter as often as he can by phone and sometimes video chat.

"I'm very excited," he said in the anxious moments before he stepped into the classroom. "He just had a birthday, so I’m going to go take him to get a birthday present."

He said he also planned to show his children a treasure chest full of souvenirs he had collected in his travels.

This is his second deployment; he returned from Afghanistan in 2011. He has about a week here where he grew up, in Paw Paw, before returning to base in California.

Jayden actually guessed the surprise from the three clues presented to the students right before he entered to read a story: he wears a uniform, lives in California, and works on helicopters--the last detail clinched it as his face lit up with anticipation. See him guess in this video showing his father's arrival.

The two embraced when Joshua entered, Jayden saying, "I knew it!"

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