The Viet Cong, or National Liberation Front (NLF), was a leftist, political and military insurgent movement which was created in 1960 in South Vietnam and Cambodia to fight against South Vietnamese and American forces during the Vietnam War (1959-1975). The Viet Cong had both guerrilla and regular army units, as well as a network of cadres who organized and armed peasants in the territory it controlled. Many soldiers were recruited in South Vietnam, but others were attached to the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), which was the regular North Vietnamese army. The Viet Cong was a tool used by the communist government of North Vietnam to overthrow the South Vietman government and unite the country as one communist nation. Many of the Vietcong’s core members were "regroupees," southern Viet Minh guerrillas who had resettled in the North after the Geneva Accord (1954). Hanoi gave the regroupees military training and sent them back to the South along the Ho Chi Minh trail in the early 1960s. Northerners and southerners communist guerrillas were always under the same command structure.
The name "Viet Cong" derives from "Viet gian cong san", which means "Communist Traitor to Vietnam." It was a derogatory term that Ngo Dinh Diem gave to his communist opponents. The word appeared in Saigon newspapers for the first time in 1956. However, the earliest citation for "Vietcong" in English is from 1957. American soldiers referred to the Vietcong as Victor Charlie or VC. "Victor" and "Charlie" are both letters in the NATO phonetic alphabet. "Charlie" referred to communist forces in general, both Vietcong and North Vietnamese.
Viet Cong guerrillas in the jungle (Video)