Welcome to the Scientology Myths Blog

This blog is for discussion of the article called “L. Ron Hubbard, the Navy & World War II: Revisited” at the following link:

          http://scientologymyths.com/hubbardww2.htm

Please post your comments, questions, etc. below.

Margaret

9 Responses to “Welcome to the Scientology Myths Blog”

  1. Maria

    Margaret, I just finished reading your research. I am completely admiring of the work you have done and it really sheds a great deal of light on this period of time in LRH’s life. I really like that you have clearly indicated what is and is not speculation and that you have compared the different interpretations of what records were available to various authors.

    I will also add that even though the subject matter is itself confusing, you have written it clearly and succinctly and that makes it possible to keep track of all the variations and difficulties along the way.

    Big thumbs up!

    Reply
    • John Bakogiannis

      Hello Margaret, I just finished reading your section about Hubbard’s WWII service and it encouraged my to do a bit of digging myself (i.e. a Google search). I found one of the standard pictures of L.Ron Hubbard in his Navy uniform, dated December 1943. You have a similar one at the top of the page on your site.
      Upon closer inspection, I noticed what looked like service stars on several of his medal ribbons. Are there more details concerning this, or am I just mistaken?
      If one were to stick to the the Navy’s list of Hubbard’s medals, he shouldn’t have service stars or a third darker medal ribbon (marksmanship ribbon or Purple Heart, maybe?).
      Can you shed some light on this, please?
      Thank you for a very surprising piece of research

      Reply
      • Margaret

        Good eye, John. I do believe you are right about the service stars (which, if confirmed, would add additional evidence that Hubbard’s official Navy separation document is incomplete).

        The whole area of Hubbard’s medals is one which I’ve researched some, but am still working on. One additional finding I’ve made along the way has to do with the service stars. As you probably know, receiving a “battle star” on the American Theater (now American Campaign) Navy ribbon from WW II typically meant that one served on a US Navy ship during the time in which it engaged in combat with an enemy submarine/ship (the specific eligible campaigns and areas of service are listed at http://www.history.navy.mil/medals/acsm.htm). Two stars would indicate involvement in two or more eligible campaigns.

        In Moulton’s testimony in 1984, he states the following regarding his battle stars and what they (he, Hubbard and the crew of the PC-815) thought were Japanese submarines off the coast of Astoria, Oregon (near Portland) in the late spring of 1943:

        [Lawyer]: Now you and Mr. Hubbard were never given credit for sinking or damaging any Japanese submarines; were you?

        [Moulton]: I don’t know. There is something quite odd about that and I have never gotten to the bottom of it. I believe we were.

        [Lawyer]: Well, Admiral Fletcher in his report never gave you credit?

        [Moulton]: I am talking about the Navy Department in Washington. We were allowed, so I was advised, to wear two battle stars on our American Theater ribbon which I wore as long as I was in the service. I was told that they had been allowed by Washington.”

        When I looked into Moulton’s service record (at least the parts that are publicly available), his Separation document does indeed list two relevant battle stars — one on his American Theater ribbon and one on his American Defense (pre-US entry into WWII) ribbon. The odd thing however, is that there isn’t any other service (other than the above PC-815 incident) in Moulton’s record which would account for his having received either of those two stars. So it seems that Moulton may have indeed been correct that he was awarded those two battle stars by the Navy Department as a result of the PC-815′s (controversial) submarine incident in mid-1943.

        And while Moulton’s testimony doesn’t necessarily prove that the PC-815 did in fact damage or sink Japanese submarines off the Portland coast, it does seem to show that (a) the US Navy at the time wasn’t entirely sure whether Japanese submarines were present, damaged and/or sunk (despite the official report), and (b) as noted above, Hubbard’s official US Navy Separation document appears, once again, to be incomplete.

        And so what appear to be battle stars on the ribbons on Hubbard’s uniform (in the photo which you point out) do seem to add to the evidence that Hubbard was awarded these stars as a result of the PC-815 incident. And it also appears to provide additional support for the inaccuracy of the official version of Hubbard’s Separation document.

        Thanks for reminding me of those stars in the photo. Critics in the past have seen them too, but haven’t had very credible explanations for them, imho.

        I will likely add a section to the paper in the future discussing these points, once I’ve done a bit more research on the overall medals/awards issue.

    • Margaret

      Thanks Terril. It was a lot of work, but it also gave me an excuse to do some traveling, which I really enjoy.

      One of these days I want to go to the National Archives in Australia and see what I can dig up there!

      Reply
  2. Martin Foster

    Thank you for this research – I found the research on his injuries particularly fascinating and am now convinced that he did heal himself. This, to myself, is the most important part of the research done.
    The arguments about his rank are of secondary importance. Naval ranks are often confusing to those used to Army and Air-force ranks. Being seconded to Australian Army could have created an “equivalent rank confusion” in which he needed the rank of Lt commander (G2 rank) to communicate with Australian staff officers. However In the photograph shown he is decidedly a naval Lieutenant and not a Lieutenant Commander.
    “Counter Intelligence” usually means directly taking part in action and I am pleased this was pointed out as some have tried to denigrate his role as an intelligence officer as being a desk jockey.
    Thank you once again for your research.

    Reply
    • Margaret

      Thanks for the observations Martin, and glad the research was helpful.

      Yes, he was a Lieutenant throughout WWII, but in 1947/48, he was promoted to Lt. Commander effective Oct. 1945. So any photos of him in his uniform during WWII, he would have been a Lieutenant.

      Reply
  3. Margaret

    A thread was started last week at ESMB (Ex-Scientologist Message Board) on the article (“L. Ron Hubbard, World War II & the Navy: Revisited”). I thought I would take this opportunity here to respond to a few of the comments. You can find the ESMB thread and the comments here:
    http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?31535-Hubbard-sNaval-carreer-in-the-South-Pacific

    First, thank you to Terril who posted the link, and to those who read the article and responded. All of your comments and acknowledgements are appreciated, and there were a couple specific criticisms which I though were quite good and had substantive arguments. As a result, I’m likely going to add a bit of clarification and revision in the article.

    HUBBARD’S PROMOTION TO LT. COMMANDER

    There were a couple of readers (AnonyMary and Student of Trinity) who questioned whether Hubbard had ever been promoted to Lt. Commander, which I pointed out in the “ACCURACY” section of the article.

    While they correctly point out that the temporary promotion to Lt. Commander given to Hubbard on 1-Oct-1945 was rejected at the time due to Hubbard’s not being physically qualified, they don’t appear to be aware of the letter from the Chief of Naval Personnel dated 25-Jun-1947 in Hubbard’s service record. It can be found in the “Service Records” section of his service file. I’ve webbed it here:
    http://scientologymyths.com/retroactive-appt.htm

    The 1947 letter retroactively appointed Hubbard as temporary Lt. Commander effective 3-Oct-1945. The appointment was then made permanent by authority of a Secretary of the Navy letter dated 3-Jun-1948, as notated in the far right column of the Officer Precedence Record (ala the “Promotion History Card”). The Secretary of the Navy letter is unfortunately missing from Hubbard’s service record.

    There are in fact several promotion-related documents from Hubbard’s service file that are missing, most noticeably the all-important swearing-in document that an officer receives when he is promoted in rank. When Hubbard was sworn in to be a full Lieutenant (mid-1942), the swearing-in document was created (mentioned in his service file), but it got misplaced somewhere along the line and today no longer exists in his service record.

    Mistakes in later years which summarized his ultimate rank are understandable; many promotion-related documents such as these are missing.

    With regard to why Hubbard did not start referring to himself as Lt. Commander after the 1947 letter was sent to him, one speculation (Chris Owen’s) was that because the Navy did not have Hubbard’s current address at the time, the letter promoting Hubbard to Lt. Commander probably never reached him. In fact, the address that the Navy had was Jack Parson’s old mansion (1003 Orange Grove Blvd.) in Pasadena, CA, and it had been demolished in the summer/fall of 1946. So in all likelihood, the letter either was returned to the sender (the Navy) or got lost in the mail.

    Since there appears to be some confusion on this Lt. Commander promotion point, I’ll create a footnote in the article providing a copy of the 25-Jun-1947 letter which temporarily appoints Hubbard to Lt. Commander retroactive from 3-Oct-1945.

    HUBBARD’S RETURN FROM THE SOUTH PACIFIC

    Both Mick Wenlock and Peter Soderquist made some good points about Hubbard’s return to the US from the South Pacific.

    It is very true that we do not know where Hubbard picked up the Clipper plane on his return to the US, as the records for its original departure date and departure location have not been found (at least not in the US National Archives). There are plane manifests which show that the Philippine Clippers were transporting diplomats from Australia in mid-March 1942 to San Francisco, but only about 5-10% of these manifests were preserved. These records also unfortunately do not show us where passengers such as these diplomats were boarding these planes (especially in early 1942, while Japanese hostility had caused normal plane routes to be altered).

    I do think that because Hubbard’s service record implies that he left Australia on the M/S PENNANT, it is certainly likely that he first took the PENNANT to one of the islands (most likely New Caledonia, off the eastern coast of Australia), and boarded the Clipper plane there. There is some evidence which suggests that Hubbard may have been in Australia as late as mid-March however (and the PENNANT is known to have left on March-9), but until this evidence is better studied and understood, it is certainly reasonable to assume that Hubbard used the PENNANT to get to the Clipper on an island such as New Caledonia. For that reason, I will update my article in this area.

    For the historically curious, a combination ship-plane return would be consistent with known routes of other Navy officers who returned to the US by plane as well, as evidenced in Admiral Hart’s return from the South Pacific to the US in mid-March 1942 taking the Africa-Atlantic route.

    It is true that I’m planning on doing more research into these and other areas of Hubbard’s Naval career in the months ahead. I was in fact going to spend some time in DC this Spring … but the “sequestration” has unfortunately temporarily shut down a couple of the research facilities that I wanted to go to. So it will have to wait.

    If anyone has questions on any of the above, or felt that other areas/comments should have been addressed, please do not hesitate to post here.

    Margaret

    Reply

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