René MaCaré’s father was a Dutch Lieutenant Colonel stationed in Indonesia prior to World War II. During the war, his parents were POWs. René was born in 1948 and his family moved to the United States in 1960, sponsored by the Lewis family. He graduated from high school in 1967, spending his youth interested in tennis, photography, and scuba diving. His combined interest in diving and photography led him to underwater archeological photography. He was attending Cyprus Junior College, majoring in commercial photography, when he was drafted. After Infantry basic and advanced training at Ft. Ord, California, he volunteered for Airborne training, and was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade when he arrived in Vietnam. Enroute, he purchased a camera in Japan because he wanted to be a photojournalist. He joined his unit at LZ Uplift along Highway 1 in the Central Highlands. Initially, he served as line infantryman, but after a while, he volunteered for sniper school. He really enjoyed the technical aspects of becoming a sniper, training on the XM21 (based on the M-14) and the Remington 700. The first week of training consisted of shooting with iron sights only, the second introduced the daylight scope (developed by Leatherwood), and the final week focused on shooting with the night scope. He spent the remainder of his deployment to Vietnam operating as a sniper. His unit redeployed together as part of the drawdown, and they received a poor reception when they arrived stateside at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
In this interview, he talks about his family history, his childhood, and his service in Vietnam. He highlights sniper training and discusses selecting and building a good sniper position. He describes several missions he participated in. Finally, he reflects on his service, calling it “a great experience” and noting that “everyone ought to serve.” He continues to give back to Veterans by serving in the VFW, where he is a Senior Vice Commander.