Word Origin & History
1965, Vietnam War U.S. military slang for "Vietcong, Vietcong soldier," probably suggested by Victor Charlie, military communication code for V.C. (as abbreviation of Viet Cong), perhaps strengthened by World War II slang use of Charlie for Japanese soldiers, probably an extension of the 1930s derogatory
application of Charlie to any Asian man, from fictional Chinese detective Charlie Chan. Other applications include "a night watchman" (1812); "a goatee beard" (1834, from portraits of King Charles I and his contemporaries); "a fox" (1857); "a woman's breasts" (1874); "an infantryman's pack" (World War I); and "a white man" (Mr. Charlie), 1960, Amer.Eng., from black slang (his wife was Miss Ann).