Jul-30: Indianapolis, Medicare and Hoffa

Today marks the anniversary of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, the enactment of Medicare and the disappearance of Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa.



Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

The USS Indianapolis was sunk in 12 minutes after being hit by two torpedoes, a mere two days after delivering parts and the enriched uranium for the atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima.  Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, 300 went down with the ship while the remaining 900 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks as they floated with few lifeboats and almost no food or water waiting four days for rescue.  Only 317 survived, it is the the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.

Robert Shaw’s Quint provided a moving account of the fate of the Indianapolis survivors in Jaws.


The Captain was later court-martialed for hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag,: despite the testimony of the Japanese commander that it would have made no difference. Admiral Nimitz remitted the Captain’s sentence and restored him to active duty, although feelings of guilt ultimately became more than he could bare and he took his life in 1968.

A movie about the Indianapolis is slated for release this year.


Lyndon Johnson Signs Medicare and Medicaid Legislation

With former President Truman, who had proposed comprehensive health care in 1948, at his side, President Johnson signed into law the cornerstones of the Great Society prorams – Medicare and Medicaid.    Medicare was enacted to ensure access t health care for seniors and Medicaid to provide access for low-income Americans.  One in three Americans today is covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

From U.S. World News and Report:

But the programs did more than cover millions of Americans. They removed the racial segregation practiced by hospitals and other health care facilities, and in many ways they helped deliver better health care. By ensuring access to care, Medicare has contributed to a life expectancy that is five years higher than it was when the law went into effect. And children who are on Medicaid develop into healthier teenagers and adults, according to a report published Tuesday by the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.



Jimmy Hoffa Vanishes

Jimmy Hoffa, who served as President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1958 to 1971, vanished on this day in 1975.  He had called his wife, Josephine, from a pay phone in Bloomfield Township, Michigan to say he had been stood up at an afternoon meeting with two mobsters.  He was never seen again.  If alive, he would be 103 years old.  Hoffa was never seen in public again



Baltimore Founded

Maryland’s largest city was founded on this day in 1729.  It is the 29th-most populous city in the US and the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic.



Trans-Canada Highway

Canada completed the Trans-Canada highway, which at the time was the most lengthy uninterrupted highway in the world.


Last VW Beetle

By 2002, over 21 million Type 1s had been produced, but by 2003, annual production had dropped to 30,000 from a peak of 1.3 million in 1971. VW announced the end of production in June 2003, citing decreasing demand, and the final original Type 1 VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) rolled off the production line at Puebla, Mexico, on 30 July 2003, 65 years after its original launch. This last Beetle, nicknamed El Rey (Spanish for “The King” after a legendary Mexican song by José Alfredo Jiménez) was delivered to the company’s museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.



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