Title: Re: L. Ron Hubbard, USMC (was Navy Documents: Career Summary)
Chris Owen <chriso@lutefisk.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 20:07:28 +0000

In article <34d95b28.0@feed1.realtime.net>, "john d." <johnd@bga.com>
>Chris Owen (chriso@lutefisk.demon.co.uk) wrote:
>:  I have, somewhere around the place, a copy of his USMC service record
>: book.  It's an interesting document which shows Hubbard's usual
>: mendacity.  He enlisted at Woodward in the District of Columbia in May
>That's an understatement.  A USMC service record book (SRB) is
>not a document, rather a cardboard folder containing a number
>of pages, held in place with a metal clip.  The pages can be
>removed, additional info typed in, then replaced in the SRB.
>The pages are separate records of duty station assignments,
>training, aptitude test scores, rifle qualifications,
>medals and awards, disciplinary action, etc.
>The "document" which you had was just something that LRH
>fabricated.  The record of LRH's active service, which would
>include bootcamp and training in his MOS, would be his DD214,
>"Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty".
>Every enlisted member of the USMC, reserve or active duty,
>has at least one of these.  For someone who was in the USMCR,
>the DD214 would state, as reason for release from
>active duty, "Transfer to USMC Reserve".  Upon discharge from
>the USMCR, some other document is issued.  Then the DD214 and
>the other thingy become part of the SRB, which is kept at
>HQMC in Wash DC.  Complete SRB's cannot be released, since most
>of the information is protected by the Privacy Act of 1974.
>Prior to that, HQMC would probably have released very little
>information, since the FOIA did not exist.

 Hmm.  I'd better describe what I've got and where it comes from.

 The document I have is a rather poor photocopy of twelve pages from
this service record book - the pagination suggests that there are more
pages (26+), so it's obviously an incomplete copy.  But it looks
completely authentic.  The original was evidently a narrow, spiral-bound
document, each page being about four inches wide (there are two such
pages per photocopied side).  Presumably that's what you're describing.
Lo and behold, it's headed "US MARINE CORPS SERVICE-RECORD BOOK OF"
[plus USMC crest] "Hubbard, Lafayette Ronald."  A handwritten amendment
next to the name says "Reservist" and the serial number as 227219.

 Hubbard's USMC record has been independently confirmed by both
Scientology and non-Scientologists.  Back in the late 1970s, a man named
Shannon did what was really the first systematic research into Hubbard's
life, and apparently obtained a copy of Hubbard's service record from
the USMC.  Not long afterwards a Scientologist, Gerry Armstrong
(recognise that name?  *grin*) did similar research from a pro-Hubbard
perspective and likewise found Hubbard's service record, probably
amongst Hubbard's personal papers.  I have no idea where my copy of it
came from originally.

>: 1930, after apparently boring of life at George Washington University.
>: He gave his age as 21 (he was 19) and for some reason gave his
>: profession as "photographer" (he was a student).  His physical
>: description was "height 5'10", weight 165lb, eyes grey, hair red,
>: complexion ruddy".  He was promoted to Top Sergeant after only six
>There is no such rank as "Top Sergeant" in the USMC.

 My fault.  It is indeed shown as 1st Sgt in the record.

>Sometimes the company 1stSgt is referred to as "Top".
>Promotion to 1stSgt would require 20 years or so of
>enlisted service, especially in 1930.  Accelerated
>promotions usually occur during wartime.  At other times,
>there is a minimum time in service for enlisted promotions.

 Mmm.  The record definitely shows his promotion to 1st Sergeant from
Private after only two months' service - skipping six ranks from Private
First Class to Master Sergeant.  Shannon asked USMC HQ to explain this
but they couldn't.  The only feasible explanation I've heard is that of
Hubbard himself - that they were short of recruits and needed someone
with half a clue to drill the rest.

>In ROTC units, the cadets often wear enlisted rank ensignia,
>to designate their relative status in their ROTC unit.
>Promotion to a faux "First Sergeant" could occur in as little
>as 6 weeks, for someone possessing leadership abilities.
>LRH probably envied the cadet who held that position.
>: weeks.  Scientology has, naturally, taken this as evidence of his
>: extraordinary military ability.  However, the explanation is simple: his
>: unit, the 20th USMC Reserve, was attached to GWU and had only recently
>The 20th Marine Regiment (Reserve)?  Probably not, since there was,
>AFAIK, never a 20th Marine regiment (nor a 16th).  There were
>1st through 29th regiments, infantry and artillery, but no 20th
>nor 16th.

 Well, the record definitely shows Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, 20th
Regiment, Company G.  Hubbard himself stated this on a number of
occasions - in lectures, in the book Mission into Time and in a sworn
affidavit for the US Navy during the war.  The USMC has confirmed this.
Now, I'm willing to admit the possibility that Hubbard forged his own
copy of the record - but the USMC's copy as well?  Don't forget that
LRH's service record wouldn't have been the only documentation of the
20th Marine Corps Reserve's existence.  Also, there are details on the
service record book (such as the "Not to be re-enlisted" annotation)
which surely would never have appeared if it was a forgery, as they
don't show Hubbard in the sort of good light which he so much liked. 
>: been formed.  In one of the lectures transcripted in the Research &
>: Discovery Series, Hubbard himself says that his promotion came about
>: because his superiors "couldn't find anyone else who could drill".
>:  His service record starts encouragingly, with his two weeks of training
>: in Washington in August 1930 resulting in him being rated 'excellent'
>There was never any USMC bootcamp in Washington, state nor Wash DC.
>USMC bootcamp, required for all enlisted marines whether
>active or reserve, was 5-6 weeks in 1930.
>In 1930, the only USMC bootcamps were Parris Island SC and
>Mare Island CA.  

 I can't find any references to the location of his training in the
service record book.  I got that detail from Russell Miller's "Bare-
Faced Messiah" - presumably he had a more complete copy of the service
book than do I.

>The training facility in Quantico VA, near Washington DC,
>from time to time, was used to train some enlisted marines.
>It would have been very unusual to have enlisted bootcamp
>at Quantico in 1930, but not unusual during WWI for example.
>Typically, college students who were in Navy ROTC programs,
>with the marine "option", would be sent to Quantico for a
>2 week "Platoon Leaders Course".
>George Washington Univ has a NROTC program.

 The latter sounds plausible.

>: for military efficiency, obedience and sobriety.  However, he was
>: discharged abruptly on 22 October 1931; the discharge was an honourable
>: one but his service record contains the instruction "Not to be re-
>: enlisted".  There's no record of why this happened; considering his
>LRH flunked out of George Washington Univ, so he was
>kicked out of the Navy ROTC program.

 Not necessarily - he flunked GWU the year after he left the USMC, so it
would be difficult to support a direct link there.  He *was* put on
probation for poor grades at GWU in 1931, though, so maybe there is a
connection.  But I think the reason for leaving (being kicked out of?)
the USMC Reserve was more to do with his personality problems which were
to become so apparent later.

>:  Notwithstanding this setback, he later made much of his short time in
>: the USMC; during the latter part of the 1930s, he wrote a number of
>: "leatherneck yarns" for pulp fiction magazines.  He claimed to have
>: served seven years in the USMC and in the 10 October 1935 issue of
>: Adventure magazine, he wrote:
>: 'I've known the Corps from Quantico to Peiping, from the South Pacific
>Quantico VA, where LRH may have gone though the 2 week PLC,
>as a NROTC cadet.

 That sounds quite likely.

>: to the West Indies ... To me the Marine Corps is a more go-to-hell
>: outfit than the much lauded French Foreign Legion ever could be ...'
>:  Not bad for someone who only served in the USMC Reserve for 18 months!
>: But funnily enough, the places he named he did actually visit - Quantico
>: during his USMC Reserve training, Peiping and the South Pacific during
>: his 1927 and 1928 visits to his parents who were working with the US
>: Navy base on Guam, and the West Indies during the farcical "Caribbean
>: Motion Picture Expedition" of 1931, organised at George Washington
>: University.  As so often with Hubbard, there's a tiny kernel of truth
>: inside a great mass of lies and exaggerations.
>The kernel is tinier than you thought, in the case of
>LRH's claim to have been in the USMCR.  He was probably
>just a fucked-up Navy ROTC cadet, who was kicked out of the
>program when he flunked out of George Washington Univ.

 Nope - see above.  :)

 It's interesting that he seems to have downplayed his service in the
USMC when he was applying to join the US Navy - maybe he didn't want the
USN recruiters to see the "Not to be re-enlisted" notation in his
service record boo.  He did mention it to the War Dept in a letter of 1
Sept 1939, when he tried (and failed) to get into the US Army Air Corps.
He wrote:

 "... at the age of 19, I was a first sergeant in the 20th Marines, not
being old enough for a commission, & I left the service on the advice of
my friend Lt-Col. Moriarity [sic] USMC."

 Make of that what you will!

        |     Chris Owen - chriso@lutefisk.demon.co.uk     |
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