A few months ago, Karin Spaink put on her website a scan of what
Scientology claims to be L. Ron Hubbard's Notice of Separation
(US Navy form DD214). This document has been used as the basis
of Scientology's claims that Hubbard "won 21 medals and palms"
for his service in the US Navy during World War II. It can be
found on Karin's website at
http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/warhero/images/dd214_real.gif, with a covering
note by Scientology at
This morning I received confirmation from the US Navy itself that the DD214 distributed by Scientology is not authentic:
As the Naval Historical Center comment dryly in their letter, "several inconsistencies exist between Mr. Hubbard's DD214 and the available facts".
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard commanded the USS Mist. The USS Mist was a motor launch converted during World War I into a guard boat. She was returned to her owner in February 1919, when Hubbard was only eight years old. She did not serve in World War II.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard won two stars to his Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. One of Hubbard's ships, the USS Algol, won two stars in the APAC theatre for 1 April-10 April 1945 and 10 July-3 August 1945. Only one star was awarded for each engagement; Hubbard would have had to have been in both battles to have been awarded both stars. However, Hubbard had left the ship on 28 September 1944 and was ineligible for the stars. The US Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual and the relevant Ship's Movement Card shows that his other Pacific vessel, the USS PC-815, took part in no engagements and was awarded no battle stars.
* The DD214 is purportedly signed by Lieutenant Commander Howard D. Thompson, US Navy Reserve. No officer of this name is listed in the
1944 Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Naval Reserve.
Other "inconsistencies" which I have independently confirmed:
A final damning fact is that the DD214 distributed by Scientology is very different to that in Hubbard's US Navy file - that one does fit the records of Hubbard's naval service.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard commanded the USS Howland. No such vessel exists in the US Naval Vessel Register.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard was awarded the "British Victory Medal". No such medal exists, and the British Ministry of Defence has no record of having awarded a medal to Hubbard.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard was awarded the "Dutch Victory Medal".
No such medal exists.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard was awarded the "European Theater" medal (probably the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal).
Hubbard never served in the EAME theatre of operations.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard was at college for four years and held
a degree in Civil Engineering. In fact, he dropped out after two years and held no academic qualifications.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard was awarded a Purple Heart with palm.
This is awarded only for combat injuries. No such injury is recorded in his medical reports, nor is he recorded as having being in combat
with the enemy at any time.
* The DD214 claims that Hubbard was awarded a "Marine Medal" (there is
no medal of this name). His only service with the US Marine Corps was as a reservist in 1930-31, during which time his total period of active service was five weeks (all training); he was discharged with
the instruction that he was not to be re-enlisted. He would not have been eligible for any USMC medals in World War II.
* Despite what the DD214 claims there is no record of Hubbard having been awarded any commendations, stars (not palms) to the American Campaign Medal, Rifle and Pistol Expert ribbons or the Distinguished
The only possible conclusion is that Scientology's copy of the document is in fact an incompetently executed forgery. The only question remaining is whodunnit. Does anyone know a graphologist? It would be interesting to see if there were any similarities between L. Ron Hubbard's signature and that of the fictitious Lt Cdr Thompson, which I suspect there are.
One other interesting thing which the Navy sent to me was a copy of the USS PC-815's Movements Card (a form recording the movements of a Navy vessel), which provides a complete history of the PC-815. It seems to have had a very quiet career before its unfortunate sinking in 1945:
Depart: 19 May 1943 from Portland, OR (26 May 1943 directed to Seattle)
Arrive: (28?) May 1943 at Seattle, WA (directed to San Diego) Depart 29 May 1943
Arrive: 30 May 1943 at Almeda, CA (ordered to escort MV CROATAN to San Diego) Depart: 1 June 1943
Arrive: 1 June 1943 at San Diego, CA (shakedown and training) (Hubbard relieved of command on 7 July) (ordered to escort MV TINOSA until 2nd darkness) Depart: 7 November 1943
Arrive: 9 November 1943 at San Diego, CA
(There is now a jump forward to 1945; the PC-815 appears to have been inactive through 1944 and no movements are recorded for that year)
(ordered to escort MV COD until 2nd darkness) Depart: 28 February 1945 from San Diego, CA
Arrive: 2 March 1945 at San Diego, CA
On 2 November 1945, the PC-815 was assigned active duty with the Pacific Fleet. On 11 November, however, the ship collided with the destroyer USS Laffey off San Diego and sank within two minutes. One man (presumably from the PC-815) was recorded as missing and probably drowned. Navy divers demolished the wreck in early November 1945.
Here's what the Navy said in their letter:
Dear Mr. Owen:
This is in reply to your Freedom of Information Act request for information on the veracity of the DD214 submitted by LaFayette Ronald Hubbard which was forwarded to our office by the Navy Personnel Command, for separate reply.
I am enclosing brief histories of USS ALGOL and USS MIST from this Center's Dictionary of American Navy Fighting Ships, as well as extracts from the Navy and Marine Corps Medals and Awards Manual, which list ALGOL as receiving two engagement stars for 1 April-10 April 1945 and 10 July-3 August 1945 to be worn on the Asiatic/Pacific campaign medal. However, USS MIST did not participate in World War II. The Ships' Movement Card for USS PC-815 stated that it was on the west coast of the U.S. until it was sunk in September 1945 by a collision with USS LAFFEY. Neither MIST or PC-815 received engagement stars for World War II. Thus Lieutenant Hubbard could not have received all the engagement stars claimed on the DD214. His official service records is held by the Military Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63132-5100. Because of Privacy Act concerns the information from these records is available to the veteran, or if deceased, to the next of kin. I enclose this Center's information packet on the service records which includes an order form.
I am also sending extracts from the 1944 Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Naval Reserve which does not have a listing for a Howard D. Thompson. In July 1944, Lieutenant Lafayette R. Hubbard is listed D-VS (Deck Officers, commissioned and warrant, including boatswains and ships clerks, qualified for specialist duties). The schools he attended by July 1944 were Sound for Sonar, and Subchaser Training Center.
Several inconsistencies exist between Mr. Hubbard's DD214 and the available facts. Your interest in naval history is appreciated and I hope that this information will prove helpful.
Kathleen M. Lloyd for BERNARD F. CAVALCANTE Head, Operational Archives Branch
As part of my research into L. Ron Hubbard's career in the US Navy (due to be published on the web in about two weeks' time), I've asked three serving British military officers of my acquaintance to comment on Hubbard's performance records. I asked three officers - an Army Brigadier, a Royal Air Force Wing Commander and a Royal Navy Commander - the same question:
"You have an officer under your command, of lieutenant/captain/flight lieutenant rank [as appropriate], for a period of four years. He has had average performance reports for most of that period. However, over an 18-month period he is relieved of duty three times, twice for poor performance and arguing with his superiors and once for disobeying orders, for which he is formally admonished. How do you rate him at the end of his service?"
This is what they said:
Being relieved of duty is a very serious matter. If it happened repeatedly it would normally result in the officer being sacked. An officer with that sort of record would hopefully see the writing on the wall before it reached that stage. However, the system can be merciful. People can be victims of personality clashes or unsuitable postings. Tours of duty can be terminated prematurely without ending careers.
Wing Commander, RAF:
A very poor officer, obviously obstreperous and very difficult to manage. At that level you would expect to be able to give him tasks to do unsupervised. You would have to micro-manage him if you wanted to get good work out of him. If he is repeatedly relieved from duty in different posts, that is a clear message that he has a problem taking commands from his superiors. I would not want him working for me. I would seek to give him an administrative discharge or perhaps a court-martial if he misbehaved again. Indiscipline is a court- martialable offence, if you have clear and persistent evidence.
He sounds like a poor officer. Average reports do not cancel out repeatedly being relieved of duty. You would need to supervise him closely. A lot depends on the circumstances. Perhaps he just had a bad spell - e.g. as a result of adverse personal circumstances, like a close relative being killed - which may offer some mitigation.