In August, 1970, when I served with the 25th Division Wolfhounds outside of Dau Tieng near the Black Virgin Mountain, our company once spotted a blond caucasian male with a squad of NVA soldiers. He was hatless and wore green fatigues but we couldn’t spot an ammo vest or weapon. We didn’t fire at him thinking that he may be a prisoner(?) and didn’t want to hit him so we lit up those behind him.  However, when the led started flying, he didn’t try to escape his captors(?), and instead, took off running with them. I’ve later heard that Russia had sent over military advisors to North Vietnam, but I seriously doubt any of them had ventured that far south and actually accompanied a ground unit. Never did find the blonde guy – dead or alive and God knows we looked for him.   Anybody witness or hear of something similar?  Who was this mysterious White Cong , White VC, or Super Charlie?


Another of the unsolved stories of the Vietnam War has to do with persistent reports that two Americans, one Caucasian and one dark-complexioned — nicknamed Salt and Pepper — were seen on many occasions operating with PAVN forces in I Corps.

Reports of Salt and Pepper span several years, are focused in a fairly small area of I Corps, and all reports are quite similar.  The consistency of these reports is enough to convince US intelligence that something was going on there.  I was never part of any of the work done on Salt and Pepper.  Most of that was done during the war and, when I arrived in DIA, there was only the file (a large file) and we were not working on it, though I did read through it.

A Viet Cong detachment going into battle during the Vietnam War, January 1967. In the foreground is the body of a dead American soldier. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The bottom line is that there was never any firm identification established of Salt and Pepper.  Most reports come from members of US combat units who report that, in the midst of a firefight, they observed a “black guy and a white guy” with the PAVN.  Others report seeing only the white guy, others only the black guy.  Some reports claim that one or the other of Salt and Pepper called out.   People who claimed to have seen Salt and Pepper were shown photographs of missing Americans.  While many guys picked out photos, there was no consistency to the selected photos sufficient to identify one guy as Salt or Pepper.

The reports consistently identified:

Salt as white; 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet; dark hair; medium to slender build.

Pepper as African-American or Hispanic; 5 feet 6 inches or so; black hair; medium build.

So, who were Salt and Pepper?

Could have been American deserters.

Could have been French colonial troops or Legionnaires.  There were (are) some of those who stayed in Vietnam after the French withdrawl

Could have been from some third country serving as observers or advisors.

Other theories?



In looking through the internet, I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any information to support either of the above theories.  I did find that of over 4,000 deserters during the Vietnam War Era, only 249 soldiers actually deserted while in-country.  Many of them have come forward, but some remain as MIA.  When amnesty was declared, many of these former soldiers turned themselves in.  Dozens have chosen to remain in other countries outside of the U.S. since receiving citizenship during that time.  Yet a handful remain hiding within the U.S..  A few have been found and charged, the latest, a man in the state of Georgia, who was arrested while filing for his social security pension and Medicare.  Personally, I will never forgive any of them!

Here is a copy of the newspaper article referencing our experience with the blonde soldier:

 tropic lightning logo

Vol 5 No. 31                TROPIC LIGHTNING NEWS                August 17, 1970

Caucasian Seen With Foe


FSB LYNCH – A male blonde Caucasian was spotted among a group of enemy soldiers by the Wolfhounds of Alfa Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry near here recently.

As the point element of Charlie Company, a scout dog and handler from the 66th Scout Dog Platoon, approached a small clearing, the animal alerted to the presence of the enemy.  The team moved to the edge of the clearing and spotted two enemy moving away from them and slightly across their path.

The handler opened fire and wounded one of them, causing him to drop his AK-47 and run into the woods.
Following heavy blood trails and numerous other visual signs, the Wolfhounds spotted another group of six to eight NVA soldiers – this time with an unusual addition.

One of the men was a blonde Caucasian.

“I was ready to fire,” said Staff Sergeant Joseph Burnett of Tryon, N.C., who was near the front of the Wolfhound element.  “But I saw this blonde guy in the middle.  “They were in line and heading away from us, about to go into the woods,” Burnett continued.  “I figured the guy must be a prisoner, and I didn’t want to shoot him.  So I engaged those behind him.  He didn’t seem to try to escape but ran with the rest of the NVA into the woodline where we lost them.”

Along with the one rifle, the enemy left behind five rucksacks containing medical supplies and clothing.
The identity of the stranger remains a mystery.


My friend and Aussie brother, Barney Bigwood, sent this to me after publishing this article:

Caucasian Cong John Podlaski from Aussie Press . There are other sightings recorded in thev Official Unit War Diaries available online from the Australian War Memorial collections.

Information for this article obtained from:

MIA Facts site –

Tropic Lightning News –

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