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L. Ron Hubbard’s stolen valor: A new breakdown of his bogus medals by a military veteran

Longtime Bunker reader PickAnotherID revealed to us recently that he’s actually a 20-year military veteran with an expertise in military records and decorations. He told us that he’s been frustrated at L. Ron Hubbard’s “stolen valor” that was promoted by the Church of Scientology, and he says that some of the critics of Hubbard’s military record have also failed to give an accurate telling of just what he was entitled to. We think you’ll be impressed by his thorough examination of Hubbard’s war documents as he attempts to set the record straight, finally.

For his 2011 New Yorker story about Paul Haggis, “The Apostate,” Lawrence Wright requested clarification from Scientology regarding claims made by L. Ron Hubbard regarding his military service that were not supported by his actual Naval records. In response, church spokesman Tommy Davis sent Wright documentation and pictures of Hubbard’s awards that were supposed to support those claims.

Davis later sent me a copy of what he said was a document that confirmed Hubbard’s heroism: a “Notice of Separation from the U.S. Naval Service,” dated December 6, 1945. The document specifies medals won by Hubbard, including a Purple Heart with a Palm, implying that he was wounded in action twice. But John E. Bircher, the spokesman for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, wrote to me that the Navy uses gold and silver stars, “NOT a palm,” to indicate multiple wounds. Davis included a photograph of medals that Hubbard supposedly won. Two of the medals in the photograph weren’t even created until after Hubbard left active service.

Wright obtained his own copy of Hubbard’s complete record from military archives in St. Louis, and it contained no mention of war wounds. It did contain a “Notice of Separation,” but it was different from the one Davis had sent him.


There is a “Notice of Separation” in the records, but it is not the one that Davis sent me. The differences in the two documents are telling. The St. Louis document indicates that Hubbard earned four medals for service, but they reflect no distinction or valor. In the church document, his job preference after the service is listed as “Studio (screen writing)”; in the official record, it is “uncertain.” The church document indicates, falsely, that Hubbard completed four years of college, obtaining a degree in civil engineering. The official document correctly notes two years of college and no degree.

Scientology’s explanation for the difference between the seperation document they provided and the official document was the official one had been “sheep dipped” — purposely made misleading to protect what Hubbard had actually been up to because of his involvement in “intelligence work.”

As a military veteran with over 20 years of service, the repeated false claims to these awards by Scientology really irritate me. Also, almost a quarter of my service was with the USAF Security Service. I have to say the “sheep dipped” claim is one of the most outlandish statements I have ever heard. Instead, I would point out that Scientology’s bogus separation document and award display were prepared by total incompetents who knew absolutely nothing about military separation documents, medals, awards and qualification badges. While there are other areas in the bogus separation document that point to its being a forgery, I intend to focus on the “Stolen Valor” medal claims within it and the decoration picture provided to go along with it.

These claims dishonor those who actually put their lives on the line to rightfully earn them. It should be noted over the years there has been a lot of commentary spread around explaining why these award claims are bogus. Some of that commentary is accurate, some is not, and it’s generally scattered across a number of different forums, which makes trying to figure out what’s correct and what’s not a bit of a pain.

One of the most common mistakes in these commentaries is referring to the separation document as a ‘DD-214.’ Although similar, it’s not. It’s a “Notice of Separation From Naval Service, Naval Personel (NAV PERS) Form 553, Revised August 1945 (8-45).” For this discussion I will just refer to it as the ‘Separation Document”.

I am pulling together all the bits and pieces I can find, along with my own research, and putting together an explanation of exactly what’s wrong with Scientology’s picture of Hubbard’s awards. This will include a picture of each award, the criteria for each, devices used with the award and why Hubbard would, or would not, have been eligible for each one.

1. The fake separation document…


The genuine separation document (SSN redacted):



The ‘Remarks’ section enlarged for easier reading:


The Medals and Ribbons: Photo provided by Scientology. Note the ribbon block is upside down. With our notations…


Note: Because the Ribbon block is displayed upside down, it means the stripes on R5 (which is the only one not symmetrical) are in the opposite order as shown. Correct way up, R5 visually identifies as the (British) STAR Medal 1939-45 and not the The War Medal 1939-45 (British), which has a completely different ribbon. In either case, Hubbard did not earn it.

KEY to above photo: R=Ribbon. M=Medal

R-, M# = No corresponding ribbon for medal shown
R#, M- = No corresponding medal for ribbon shown

Authorized award or badge identified on official separation document
Unauthorized award or device from fake separation document

R1, M1 = Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon & Medal (Expert ‘E’ device missing)*

R2, M2 = Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon & Medal (Expert ‘E’ device missing)*
R3, M- = Médaille commémorative de la Guerre de 1939-1945 (French)
R4, M- = Bronzen Kruis (Bronze Cross – Netherlands)
R5, M- = Star Medal 1939-1945 (UK Commonwealth)
R6, M6 = Philippine Defense Medal (+3 silver stars)
R7. M7 = Armed Forces Reserve Medal
R8, M8 = National Defense Service Medal
R9, M9 = World War II Victory Medal (US) (Dec 1941-Dec 1946)
R10, M10 = European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (+ 2 Bronze stars)
R11, M11 = American Campaign Medal (+2 Bronze stars)
R12, M12 = Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (+2 Bronze stars)
R13, M13 = American Defense Service Medal (+ 1 Bronze star)
R14, M- Organized Marine Corp Reserve Medal
R15, M15 = Naval Reserve Medal
R16, M16 = Purple Heart (Gold star shown on Medal but not ribbon)
R17, M17 = Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal (+1 Bronze star)
R-, M18 = Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal

2. The Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship Ribbons and Medals

Authorized or Unauthorized? The answer is yes. This has been a longstanding area of confusion ever since Lawrence Wright’s article came out in 2011. Even Chris Owen in his excellent book, “Ron the War Hero” has this to say about the marksmanship issue:

Rifle, Pistol Exp.

This presumably refers to the Navy Expert Pistol Shot and Navy Expert Rifleman medals. Both are awarded on attainment of rigidly prescribed marksmanship standards established in the Navy Landing Party Manual. The National Archives version of the notice of separation indicates that Hubbard was awarded these medals. Curiously, though, the Navy’s official summary of his war record omits them.

The majority of this confusion comes from people not understanding the marksmanship ribbons, which replace the metal marksmanship badges, are classified as ‘Qualification Badges’ by Naval Regulations, not medals. This is spelled out even today in ‘United States Navy Uniform Regulations NAVPERS 15665I’ (Emphasis and notes added):

1. General. Listed below in order of precedence are the only marksmanship badges authorized for wear on naval uniforms:
U.S. Distinguished International Shooter Badge
Distinguished Marksman Badge
Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge

National Trophy Match Rifleman Excellence in Competition (Gold)
National Trophy Match Pistol Shot Excellence in Competition (Gold)
Interservice Rifleman Excellence in Competition Badge (Gold)
Interservice Pistol Shot Excellence in Competition Badge (Gold)
Navy Rifleman Excellence in Competition Badge(Gold)
Navy Pistol Shot Excellence in Competition Badge(Gold)
Annual Rifle Squad Competition Badge (Gold)
Fleet Rifleman Excellence in Competition Badge(Gold)
Fleet Pistol Shot Excellence in Competition Badge (Gold) (National, Interservice, Navy and Fleet Badges in silver and bronze)
Rifle Qualification Awards
(1) Expert Rifleman Medal
(Note: Created in 1969)
(2) Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon (Note: Created in 1920)
Pistol Qualification Awards
(1) Expert Pistol Shot Medal (Note: Created in 1969)
(2) Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon (Note: Created in 1920)

Qualification badges are listed on Separation documents. They are not normally listed in the ‘Awards’ section of an individuals personnel records, they would be noted in the ‘Qualifications’ section. Which would explain the apparent discrepancy between Hubbard’s official NAV PERS 553 Separation document and the ‘Awards’ section of his personnel file.

The basic marksmanship ribbons are awarded for attaining ‘Marksman’ status. An ‘S’ device is attached if Sharpshooter level is obtained. And an ‘E’ device is attached if Expert level is reached. The requirements for each level when Hubbard served are laid out in ‘US Navy Force Landing Manual 19-62, 1938 Edition, Revised 1941’. Whoever put together the ribbon block for Scientology’s picture left the ‘E’ off both marksmanship ribbons, even though both the fake and official separation documents show he fired ‘Expert’. A mistake not even a Navy basic trainee would make.

The marksmanship medals shown in the picture provided by Scientology were not created until 1969, long after Hubbard had left the Navy. They are provided to those qualifying as ‘Expert’, along with the ribbon, for wear on the Dress and Mess Dress uniforms when medals rather than ribbons are required. Even though they are called medals, officially they are still classified as ‘Qualification Badges’. and only issued to those firing Expert.

So the answer is yes, both marksmanship ribbons are valid, although the should have an ‘E’ device attached. And no, the marksmanship medals were not earned by Hubbard and fall in the ‘Stolen Valor’ category.

The pre-1920 marksmanship badge:


Clasps were added for each year and individual qualified and for each level qualified for. For career personnel this could lead to badges reaching six inches or more in length, which is why it was discontinued and replaced by the pistol and rifle marksmanship ribbons in 1920.

Rifle (3 vertical stripes) and Pistol (2 vertical Stripes) Marksmanship Ribbons and Devices (Created 1920)



(Ribbon with no device = ‘Marksman’; ‘S’ device = ‘Sharpshooter’; ‘E’ device = ‘Expert’)

Rifle (3 vertical stripes) and Pistol (2 vertical Stripes) ‘Expert’ Marksmanship Medals (Created 1969):


Since they are only given to an individual qualifying as ‘Expert’ with the rifle or pistol, and so state on the medal itself, no device is attached to the suspension ribbon. These medals are only worn on the Dress, or Mess Dress, uniform when wear of actual medals is directed. They may not be worn if miniature medals are used.

The story goes, since the Navy’s marksmanship ribbons cannot be worn with medals, the ‘Expert’ medals were created to quiet Naval personnel who complained about their Marine Corp counterparts being able to wear their metal marksmanship badges with Dress and Mess Dress uniforms. Officially, it’s, “No comment.”

IN PART TWO: Hubbard’s bogus foreign medals and a final tally of his real and bogus awards.

— PickAnotherID


Former Sea Orger goes down to defeat

Brittany Ruiz, former Executive Director of the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles, failed in her attempt to be elected to the McMinnville, Oregon city council yesterday. The incumbent council president, Kellie Menke, outpolled Ruiz 65-34 in a contest that drew 5,000 votes.

In a couple of stories, we explained how excited we were to discover that a former Sea Org official like Ruiz was actually running for office, especially one who was connected to some of Scientology’s most intriguing stories. Her husband, Javier Ruiz, was actually named in Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit against the church, and she described him as the “supercargo” whose job it was to discipline her for feeling homesick (she was 12 years old at the time). And Javier also figured in Leah Remini’s famous story of leaving Scientology. She told us that Javier turned her in for daring to ask questions about the disappearance of his wife Barbara Ruiz, a friend of Leah’s who had run Scientology’s “Writers of the Future” contest. After Javier turned Leah in for asking about that, it helped convince her to leave the organization.


Brittany and Javier weren’t interested in discussing Leah Remini or Laura DeCrescenzo, and complained that it was “religious bigotry” that their Sea Org pasts were being asked about, which is a typical Scientology strategy.

Voters, however, had plenty to think about, especially after Leah tweeted about Brittany, urging McMinnville residents not to vote for her.

That appears to have done the trick.


Source Code

“We’re not trying to make superman here, because after you’ve done that is when you start to work to really make superman. Now you really have to get clever. Of course, a thetan in real good operating condition can make himself visible. It would be the shock of somebody’s life to suddenly realize that he was visible. And it would ruin this whole society and put us squarely in the hands of Bishop Shenanigan if you were to start doing this. Because you as a MEST body would never be able to explain fast enough to tell him you really weren’t Christ. They’ve been looking for him to come back — with blood in their eyes. You know, they only got a few nails in that guy last time.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 4, 1953


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I am very disappointed in the decline of civilization as a whole during the last 120 years. I place the blame primarily on the widespread use of drugs and chemicals, and the increase in population in urban areas in relation to rural population. People are generally more restimulated in heavily populated settings and develop or agree with more socialistic philosophies. When you are forced to confront and handle the physical environment, you tend to be more in present time. When in a heavily populated environ, there is more contagion of aberration.”


Past is Prologue


1995: Jeff Jacobsen provided a summary of the Cult Awareness Network Conference held last week in White Plains, NY. “About 270 attended and about a dozen Scientologists hung around the hotel bugging people. Early Friday morning Snipe and I set up his computer in the book sale room and gave an Internet demonstration during the day. I think we made several converts to the net there.”


Random Howdy

“The way things are going evidence-wise and if DM is required to appear in court, I think Monique could demand an 8-figure deal without an NDA, without any contention.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to November 2.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing set for October 29 in White Plains, NY delayed to January.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for a writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Nov 6 (motions to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Oct 19: Feshbachs still considering further appellate relief.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and coming November 1 to Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] David Miscavige and a slate of local shills welcomed the new Kansas City ‘Ideal Org’
[TWO years ago] Scientology is pulling out all the stops for its next gleaming Clearwater landmark
[THREE years ago] Read the police report for the 17-year-old injured at Scientology’s ‘Flag’ building
[FOUR years ago] Trouble for Scientology in 1966: When the Daily Mail called L. Ron Hubbard’s degrees ‘bogus’
[FIVE years ago] Hey, Mark Bunker, what’s taking that film of yours — ‘Knowledge Report’ — so long?
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s own plans show it paid $37 million for a building to serve only 87 people
[SEVEN years ago] Claire Headley Takes Us OT! Here We Go with Scientology’s Operating Thetan Level ONE!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Road to Clear!
[ELEVEN years ago] ‘Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle’: Life at Scientology’s Secret Headquarters


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,110 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,614 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,134 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,154 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,045 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,352 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,220 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,994 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,798 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,114 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,680 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,599 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,767 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,348 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,609 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,647 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,360 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,885 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,415 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,966 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,115 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,435 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,290 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,409 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,765 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,068 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,174 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,576 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,448 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,031 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,526 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,780 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,889 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 4, 2020 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, 14 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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