A 78-Year-Old Vietnam Vet Has One Haunting Regret That Confronts Him 50 Years Later

By: Past Chronicles Staff Published: Jul 27, 2023

Vietnam veteran Gary Barnes couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease. He had thought that he had put his past behind him. And he was more than ready to enjoy his golden years.

Little did he know that fate had other plans. Gary Barnes was not ready to be swept up in a whirlwind of unexpected events that would forever alter the remaining days of his life.

A Vietnam Veteran

Gary Barnes devoted his life to serving his country. Being a proud Vietnam veteran, he was looking forward to living his final years with his beloved wife, Caryl, in the idyllic town of Grass Valley, California.

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However, there was a gnawing emptiness that he couldn’t shake. For years, he had carried a deep regret. Fortunately, fate was about to intervene and finally offer him a chance to find true peace.

Going To Vietnam

Like so many of his fellow soldiers, Barnes had returned from Vietnam forever changed by the horrors he had witnessed. The memories of conflict haunted him. He struggled to find ways to cope with the trauma.

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In search of solace, he turned to the neighboring country of the Philippines. In the tropical paradise, he found a sense of calm that had eluded him for years. Eventually, the country would serve as the first step on his journey to self-discovery.

It’s More Fun In The Philippines

Barnes was determined to make the most of his time in the Philippines. He quickly discovered that the country had a lot to offer. The natural beauty of this tropical paradise was breathtaking.

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He was particularly enamored with the women as he couldn’t resist their alluring smiles. He eventually met someone he found a connection with, and he could not let go.

A Brief Fling

Though Barnes and the Filipina he was in a relationship with spent every moment together during his time in the Philippines, he had to leave when he was called back to Vietnam abruptly.

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As the two said their goodbyes, they promised to keep in touch. However, the realities of war, as well as the distance, made it impossible for them to maintain contact. It turned out to be one of the biggest regrets of his life.

Going Back To America

Barnes returned home to the United States after his tour of duty in Vietnam. He wanted to start a new chapter in his life. As time passed, he met a kind and loving woman named Caryl.

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They soon fell in love and decided to get married. However, despite their happy union, they faced one of the biggest challenges of their marriage–they were unable to have children. This detail took a toll on Barnes.

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From Many Miles Away

In another part of the country, Olivia Robles’ 50th birthday was fast approaching. She was beginning to feel a sense of restlessness. Though she had lived in America for most of her life, she had always felt a pull to her homeland–the Philippines.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

She finally decided to dig deeper into her identity. As she delved into her family’s history, she uncovered a shocking secret that had been kept from her for decades. Olivia did her best to come to terms with what she had learned.

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Not Her Biological Father

Olivia was informed that the man she had always called “father” was actually her stepfather. She felt shocked and didn’t know how to handle the news. It was difficult for her to process the fact that her entire life had been built on a lie.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

As she grew older, her curiosity about her true identity became more intense. She felt an overwhelming need to know the truth. So Olivia decided to find out more about her ancestry.

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The DNA Test

Olivia knew that a DNA test would be the best way to figure out her family history. Her goal was to know her full ethnicity and heritage. So with no hesitation, she immediately ordered a test from Ancestry.com.

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She made sure she followed the instructions carefully and then submitted a sample of her DNA. As she waited for the results, she was confident this was the first step on her journey to knowing more about her history.

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It’s A Match!

Olivia Robles did not expect she would get any matches in the United States. She had always assumed that her family was from the Philippines. But to her surprise, she learned she was a close match to a woman named Diana Barnes from Alabama. 

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Robles was excited and hopeful that Diana would have a lot of answers about her background. She did her best to reach out to Diana and ask her everything she always wanted to know about her past.

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Concrete Answers

Olivia asked her if her relatives had any connection to the Philippines. Diana remembered that her cousin Gary Barnes had spent time in the Philippines in 1966 while he was in Vietnam.

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This was a significant piece of information for Roble. She thanked Diana for her help and promised to keep her updated. She finally found the missing link she was looking to discover.

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Gathering Evidence

Olivia Robles pieced together the information she had received from Diana. The possibility that the man Diana was talking about could be her biological father was becoming more likely.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

But it was when she saw a photo of a younger Barnes that everything fell into place. The man looked almost identical to her youngest son. Their uncanny resemblance solidified the fact that Barnes was her father.

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Making Contact

As Olivia Robles prepared to tell Barnes that he was her biological father, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of nervousness. Would he be angry or shocked? She didn’t know how he would react to the news.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

But when the two talked on the phone, Barnes was overjoyed to learn that he had a daughter. Olivia felt a sense of relief. It was as if she had known him all these years. But in order to definitively confirm the relation, she asked him to take a DNA test.

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The Final Result

Barnes was eager to get his DNA sample submitted. Once it was collected, the results confirmed they were, in fact, father and daughter. It was a dream come true for both of them, and they were overjoyed by the news.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

It was now time for them to meet in person finally. Olivia booked a trip to visit her long-lost father in California. They arranged to meet at the airport. It was an emotional and heartwarming reunion when they saw each other for the first time.

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Long Lost Love

As soon as Olivia arrived at the airport, the father and daughter locked themselves in a loving embrace. It was a moment they had both been waiting to arrive. Barnes’ wife, Caryl, was also overjoyed to meet Olivia and welcomed her with open arms.

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The couple brought Olivia home, where she stayed with them for a week. During her stay, she got to know her father and stepmother. She was more than delighted to add more people to her family and felt blessed to have finally found her father.

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Dream Come True

For almost her entire life, Olivia had wondered who her birth father was. But now, her questions were finally resolved. With tears in her eyes, she could not help but describe her entire journey as a miracle.

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She always thought that her search would take a lifetime. But at 50 years old, and with Barnes at 78, they finally found each other. The weight of uncertainty lifted from her shoulders, and she felt a sense of peace.

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The Daughter He Always Wished To Have

Barnes had always felt an emptiness in his heart. For a lifetime, he and his wife had been without children. The ache of that loss had followed him through the years. But now, in the golden years of his life, that void was filled.

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He gained not only a new daughter and son-in-law but also three grandsons. With tears of happiness in his eyes, he declared that his life was now complete. His heart was overflowing with love and gratitude.

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No More FOMO

Barnes had always felt something was missing from his life. He had never become a father and thus missed out on some of the most important family moments. Instead, he had watched from afar as parents and their children came together.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

Now, that void had been filled with a new daughter, a son-in-law, and three grandsons. But wait, there’s more! Another surprise was on the way, which would fill his life with even more happiness.

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Ever Growing Family

Barnes was not only a proud father to Olivia but as it turns out, one of his grandsons had a son. So Barnes was also a great-grandfather! This new role brought him immense pride and happiness.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

Similar to Barnes, all his grandsons had a background in the U.S. military. It was a bond that brought them even closer together. Barnes’ life was filled with love, family, and tradition. He couldn’t be more grateful.

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Bonding With Family 

Barnes couldn’t wait to spend time with his ever-growing family. He even traveled to Florida to spend Christmas with them. He also made a special trip to New York for his grandson’s military academy ceremony. 

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

Like a proud grandpa, he was elated that he was able to pin a badge on his grandson. He felt it was an honor to do so. Barnes was making up for lost time and knew that he would cherish these moments forever.

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How Are They Now?

Robles decided to take a job that would allow her to be closer to her father. They are now able to see each other more often. The two even developed a daily routine of calling each other every morning and night.

Source: Olivia Robles Mauger/Facebook

Barnes cherishes these moments with his daughter as he declares that family is more important than anything in life. For Olivia, having her father in her life was a dream come true. It was indeed a happy ending for both of them.

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