Vietnam Veteran News Talks With ‘Orange Socks’ Author Jim Lamb and Posts the Interview Online as a Podcast

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Mack Payne of Vietnam Veteran News recently turned the tables on journalist Jim Lamb, who is used to being the interviewer, not the interviewee. Payne spoke with the former Navy man about his new book, “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales”; a link to that interview is at

“I plan to interview as many Vietnam veterans as I can and include them on this podcast so millions around the world can hear the real stories, as told by the veterans,” said Mack Payne of VVN.

When Jim Lamb launched his new book, “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales,” he wasn’t sure how Vietnam vets might react. Why? Because the book is sprinkled with humor. He needn’t have worried. Vietnam Veteran News (VVN) approached the former Navy petty officer for an interview because of the humor. A link to the resulting podcast is posted at

MCA ( is helping Lamb get the word out about “Orange Socks,” including engagements like the VNN interview.

Mack Payne, a decorated veteran, operates Vietnam Veteran News. Here’s his mission: “I plan to interview as many Vietnam veterans as I can and include them on this podcast so millions around the world can hear the real stories, as told by the veterans who experienced the event,” he said.

Payne is well-equipped for the task: award-winning speaker, Distinguished Toastmaster, successful author. He graduated from the University of Florida, Gainesville; he is also a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College. His podcast with the “Orange Socks” author is 314 VVN – “Interview With Vietnam Vet Jim Lamb.” It can be found at

“It was quite an experience,” said Lamb, a retired journalist used to being the interviewer, not an interviewee. “Payne talked to me two or three times before the podcast, got to know me personally—plus he had obviously read my book. By the time he flipped the switch to record, I felt like I was talking to an old buddy.”

Lamb shared with Payne the challenge of writing about events decades after they had occurred.

“It’s like re-creating a puzzle from memory,” the retired journalist said with some frustration. “A fragment here, a thought there—until I finally had a notebook full of scribbling. When I transcribed my notes, stories begin to emerge. That process took about five years. Then the writing began.”

The book includes stories like “Welcome to the War,” “The M16 Is Your Friend,” “Rocket Attack,” and “Stealing Psalm 40,” the testimony of how Lamb accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior at a chapel service in Da Nang. The chapter Payne was most keen on discussing, however, was “Orange Socks,” the self-described impish act that inspired the book’s title.

It happened this way:

During his time in the Navy, Lamb had difficulty dealing with inspections; something would always go wrong: Scuff marks on a shoe. Scratches on a belt buckle. Smudges on a hat. Then, after three and a half years, Lamb learned the secret of conforming to Navy life. The result: stunningly shined shoes, brilliantly bright brass belt buckle, stiffly starched snowy-white hat, perfectly trimmed hair. That uber transformation made him indistinguishable from any other sailor.

Lamb had become virtually invisible.

“That gave me an idea,” he said. “I decided to go into one of the biggest and most important inspections of the year in perfect naval attire except for one thing: I wore orange socks.

And he got away with it.

Lamb is originally from Pennsylvania: Born in Johnstown, grew up in Windber, thrown out of college in Shippensburg, drafted in Kennett Square. He joined the Navy in the fall of 1967: Boot camp in Great Lakes, electronics training at Naval Air Station Memphis, processed for an undesirable discharge on suspicion of drugs in Corpus Christi, TX, though charges were later dropped.

Following his time in the Navy, Lamb worked a variety of jobs—including youth director, ditch digger, carpenter’s helper, kitchen cleaner, mason tender and mosquito killer—before going to what was then called Pasco-Hernando Community College. He later attended the University of South Florida. After graduating USF, he took a job with The Tampa Tribune, where he worked 11 years, primarily as a copy desk editor.

“Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales” is available in Kindle, ePub and PDF versions. It can be purchased at Amazon for $4.99, in the iTunes Store for $4.99 or as a "DRM-Free Bundle" at

ABOUT: Jim Lamb is a 1977 graduate of the University of South Florida with a double major in Mass Communications and Political Science. He worked as a copy desk editor for The Tampa Tribune, The Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Charlotte Sun-Herald. Now retired, Lamb free-lances for MCA (, a full-service ad agency based in Tampa.

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