Vietnam Vet Visits US History Courses

Nikki Honda, Staff Writer

Vietnam War veteran Phil Ehrhorn educated Lindsay Webb-Peploe’s history classes about his personal experiences during the war. Ehrhorn visited on May 14, which coincided with the students’ unit about the Vietnam War era.

Tom Ehrhorn, Phil’s brother, used to be Campolindo’s principal, before Carol Kitchens.

Phil Ehrhorn served in the Vietnam Air Force for three years, intercepting messages from the Vietcong, a Communist rebel group. He won a purple heart after being injured in the field of combat when his plane was shot down.

Webb-Peploe explained, “We’re in the middle of the Vietnam War unit and students are learning about the issues of when [war veterans] came back home.” She explained that although the Vietnam War is an unpopular topic in American history, learning about this event is an important way to recognize people’s military service.

Junior Molly Heistand was very moved by Ehrhorn’s story. She said, “the fact that it was his personal experiences gave it an overwhelming sense of emotion.”

Ehrhorn described how difficult it was and how poorly Vietnam vets were treated when they first came home. Due to his injuries Ehrhorn continues to take morphine every four hours to relieve the lingering pain.

Heistand described Ehrhorn as “a really cool guy and really funny; he really enjoyed being able to talk about the more serious side of war.”

Ehrhorn supplemented his presentation by bringing souvenirs, photographs, foreign money, audio from the plane crash, model airplanes, and medals he has won.

Heistand believes it would be worthwhile to have Ehrhorn return to Campo in the future. She said, “Each story changes you, you can’t go back to how it was before you heard the story. It makes you treasure the moments you have.”

Ehrhorn used to sell football helmets, but is currently retired and spends most of his free time taking care of his grandchildren.