Lance Vaccaro was born on September 4, 1972, in Reading, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on May 29, 1991, and completed basic training at NTC Orlando, Florida, in July 1991. Vaccaro next attended Intelligence Specialist A School at NTC Orlando from July to September 1991, followed by service as an Intelligence Specialist aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) from September 1991 to July 1994. His next assignment was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) from July 1994 to July 1996. Petty Officer Vaccaro attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, from July 1996 to April 1997, and then Basic Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in May 1997. His next assignment was with SEAL Team EIGHT at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from June 1997 to April 2003, and during this time he deployed to Stuttgart, Germany, with Naval Special Warfare Unit 2 from December 2000 to May 2001 to support operations in Kosovo. Chief Petty Officer Vaccaro's final assignment was with Naval Special Warfare Development Group at Dam Neck, Virginia, from April 2003 until he was killed in a parachute training accident in Marana, Arizona, on March 6, 2008. Lance Vaccaro was buried at Charles Evans Cemetery in Reading, Pennsylvania.
His 2nd Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious achievement while serving as SEAL Team EIGHT ALPHA Platoon Intelligence Representative on 28 May 1998. While conducting helicopter insertion and extraction training near Naval Air Station, Fallon, Nevada, Petty Officer Vaccaro's helicopter crash landed and caught fire. Despite having sustained an ankle injury while egressing from the burning wreckage, he mustered and maintained accountability of all personnel in and around the crash site. His efforts greatly enhanced the situational awareness of the On-Scene Commander and contributed to the safe evacuation of all personnel. Petty Officer Vaccaro's distinctive contribution, unrelenting perseverance, and loyal devotion do duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.