OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – What started as a search for his birth father ended with much more for a veteran from New Jersey.

Staff Sg. Brian Darling, of Ocean County, served three tours with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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He was adopted when he was 12 years old, after his biological mother died. He never knew his father, until a recent DNA test connected the two together.

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Darling learned his military blood runs nearly 300 years deep and his family tree dates back to 1666.

“The service aspect just makes so much more sense. We have relatives that were in World War I, we have relatives that were in the Civil War, the War of 1812, the Revolution,” he said.

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His birth father is also a veteran.