Orange Socks and Other Colorful Tales by J.S. Lamb

Jim Lamb served in Vietnam in the Navy, stationed in Da Nang. He arrived in-country in the Spring of 1970, “after the Tet Offensive, but well before the Fall of Saigon,” as Lamb puts it in his memoir, Orange Socks and Other Colorful Tales: How I Survived in Vietnam and Kept My Sense of Humor (Amazon Digital Services, 77 pp., $4.99, Kindle).

Lamb says that it is a matter of record that he served eleven months in Vietnam during the war, but he really only spent seven months in-country as he was on rotation from his home base in Atsugi, Japan. His squadron was VQ-1, a reconnaissance outfit: “Big planes. Long flights. Secret missions.”

This short book contains many interesting and mild little tales of his naval service. I enjoyed them, especially because the book is well-written and well-edited.

Lamb begins with a chapter called “Welcome to the War,” and then gives us a chapter about a rocket attack on Da Nang, where they were fairly common. He tells us about boot camp at Great Lakes and about his six months at Aviation Electronics School at the Memphis Naval Station. He regales us with stories of his time as a troubleshooter at Corpus Christi, and about guarding the squadron of Stoofs. I won’t explain Stoofs, as Lamb does a better job of that than I could do.

I encourage everyone curious about what it was like to be in the Navy in Da Nang during this period of the Vietnam War to read this little book. Lamb writes elegantly and modestly of his experiences and manages to make the wearing of orange socks a heroic—as well as an amusing—escapade.

The author’s website is

—David Willson