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Cedar Rapids Cyclist Honoring A Carroll Native And The Other Members Lost On USS Scorpion For Memorial Bike Ride

This Memorial Day Holiday, a Cedar Rapids resident and an avid cyclist will be honoring a Carroll-native veteran and 98 others who were lost at sea on the USS Scorpion. Every year for his birthday, Larry Ritland rides on his bicycle to pay tribute to fallen veterans throughout all war eras. This year, for his 76th birthday, Ritland plans to ride 99 miles, a mile for each member of the lost submarine.

The veteran from Carroll was Johnny Gerald Veerhusen (Ver-husen). Veerhusen joined the United States Navy out of high school, where he served as a commissary seaman, meaning he worked preparing and provisioning the food supply. He was ordered to serve on the USS Scorpion when, for unknown reasons still to this day, the submarine sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean in May of 1968. Veerhusen was one of the youngest crewmembers of the Scorpion. Ritland says his ride this year will start at Veerhusen’s Memorial Marker at the Carroll City Cemetery.

Ritland will depart from the Carroll City Cemetery at 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning. There, he will follow close to the route Highway 30, arriving at Holy Family Cemetery in Lidderdale for a Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant Ralph George Neppel, who served in WWII as a machine-gun squad leader. Neppel held his gunfire until German soldiers were 100 yards from his post, where he was shot a point-blank range of 30 yards, being blown 10 yards from his gun, with a severed leg below the knee and other injuries. Neppel dragged himself back to his position despite his injuries and remounted his weapon. Ritland says after honoring Neppel, the ride will continue on his way to Ames.

Ritland is planning for an 11-hour bike ride, as he is in no rush to hurry. He also invites any other cyclist to join him on the entire ride or just parts of it. Those wishing to watch him take off from the Carroll City Cemetery should plan to be there at around 5:45 a.m. as he will take off at 6:00 a.m. A link to view all the names of the 99 crewmembers of the USS Scorpion has been included below.



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