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Switch to Forum Live View L. Ron Hubbard’s Military Service
3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2015 - 4:06PM #1
Posts: 1,349

With the Church of Scientology in the public spotlight due to the recent HBO documentary “Going Clear,” numerous claims about the Church and its founder L. Ron Hubbard, are being debated by both Scientology-watchers and the general public. Most of these center around allegations against Scientology, counter-allegations by the Church and the alleged cult of personality that revolves around its high-ranking figures.

But there’s another way to look at Scientology, beyond the controversies about Xenu, billion-year contracts, punishment details, beatings and movie stars. And it starts before Scientology even existed, with the military career of L. Ron Hubbard – both what he did and what he didn’t do during the Second World War.

While Hubbard’s naval service is usually a footnote in profiles of the man and his writings, it’s actually a vitally important component of the Church’s origin story. Indeed, Hubbard claimed to have refined the healing techniques of Dianetics while recovering from debilitating wounds suffered in combat in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters.

Hubbard’s war wounds, then, are much more than a reference point – they’re the pivot from which everything afterwards flows. In his New Yorker profile on Hubbard and the Church, author Lawrence Wright (who subsequently wrote the book “Going Clear” that the HBO documentary was adapted from) gets Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis on the record confirming as much. Davis told Wright:

“[i]f the injuries that [Hubbard] handled by the use of Dianetics procedures were never handled, because they were injuries that never existed; [then] Dianetics is based on a lie; therefore, Scientology is based on a lie.”

So what were Hubbard’s wounds? What did he do during World War II?

It’s important to note that there are two versions of Hubbard’s war record. One is the record borne out by naval documents (indeed, according to Wright, Hubbard’s record in the National Archives is 900 pages long), eyewitness testimony and established historical fact. The other is the record put forth by Hubbard and the Church of Scientology, which is based on Hubbard’s own anecdotes, documents provided by the Church and various autobiographical materials.

Both of these versions can’t be true, as they massively contradict each other. But they do have some commonalities, which we can use as a starting point.

L. Ron Hubbard first served in the military as a teenager, with stints in both the Montana Army National Guard and the Marine Corps Reserve. Ten years later, in 1941, he joined the US Navy, being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He served in various administrative positions before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was subsequently ordered to the Philippines, served in Australia for a time, then went back to New York, and was soon promoted and given command of an armed trawler, USS YP-422.

After commanding this ship for a brief time, he was transferred to the Pacific and given command of another vessel, the submarine chaser USS PC-815. While leading this small vessel, he was involved in a coordinated attack against a target thought to be a Japanese submarine. Later, in 1943 and 1944, he was an officer aboard the transport ship USS Algol. He spent much of 1945 in a naval hospital, and was mustered out of the Navy in December, 1945.

I could be wrong.
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