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For Memorial Day: Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s farcical first command

It’s Memorial Day here in the US, and once again we’re happy to post an excerpt from Chris Owen’s excellent book Ron the War Hero to commemorate L. Ron Hubbard’s war service. Make sure to pick up a copy of the book if you haven’t already.

Eighty years ago this June, L. Ron Hubbard took charge of his first command – the USS YP-422, in Neponset, Massachusetts. Having returned from “hard action in the South Pacific,” according to the Scientology publication “Ron: Humanitarian – Restoring Honor and Self-Respect”, he took command of “a hastily fitted subchaser” aboard which he “distinguished himself as an officer who cared more for the safety of his ship and men than for gilded braid.” The truth, as ever with Hubbard, was much more prosaic and his time aboard the YP-422 ended in ignominy.

When Hubbard arrived at George Lawley’s shipyard at Neponset on June 25, 1942, he was put to work as a Conversion Officer, overseeing the conversion of a heavy beam trawler called the Mist into the US Navy gunboat YP-422. She was modestly armed with a 3” .50 caliber dual purpose gun mounted on the forward deck and two .30 caliber machine guns.

Gunboats such as the YP-422 were intended for coastal defense against German U-boats, which had roamed virtually unopposed along the US Atlantic coast during the first months of the war. As the class name YP indicated, the YP-422 was to be assigned to yard patrol purposes – in this case, for the defense of Boston Harbor and its naval installations.


Hubbard would later claim that the YP-422 was a corvette, a much more formidable class of ship. In reality the US Navy was so desperate for anything that could reduce the German massacre of shipping along the Atlantic coast that it put guns on anything that could float and recruited anyone with a modest experience of sailing to command them.

Hubbard was also in charge of getting the ship’s crew ready for service. He later claimed in a 1961 Scientology lecture that he had “governed a ship of criminals” and turned them into superb sailors:

“They were on their way to Portsmouth Naval Prison and they took them off the prison train and shipped them to me. Combat vessel needed a crew. They didn’t have any crews. They had a lot of people in uniform, but didn’t have people they wanted to send out into the teeth of the North Atlantic in 1942. A hundred percent criminals these fellows were.

I governed them by throwing away their service record books. I just told them, “well, I’m not going to make any marks in your service records.” I saw them come aboard with their braid dirty and their hammocks black with grime and they stood there slouched, and that was the first intimation I had that this was the crew. There they were. More than a hundred men lined up on the deck.”

In fact, the YP-422 had only 35 crew (including Hubbard and his executive officer). There is no indication from the ship’s muster rolls that any of them were transferred from a prison.

Exactly one month after arriving, Hubbard was able to take YP- 422 out of her dock for a trial trip in the harbor which was recorded by a naval photographer. The following month, YP-422 put to sea for a short test cruise, for the first and only time that Hubbard was aboard her on the open ocean. During her shakedown cruise the vessel conducted 27 hours of training exercises. A few practice rounds were fired to test the deck gun.

There was no suggestion that any enemy vessels had been involved, despite later claims by the Church of Scientology that Hubbard had seen action in the North Atlantic. Church publications claim that Hubbard rose to command the “Fourth British Corvette Squadron” – a unit that never existed – and had commanded British and American anti-submarine vessels in desperate battles against Nazi U-boats, an event entirely unrecorded in his service record. In fact, according to a former crewman, Eugene LaMere, “the YP- 422 never saw combat.”

By September 9, Hubbard was confident enough about his vessel to send a message to the Commandant of the Boston Navy Yard reporting that YP-422 was in excellent condition, crew training was “approaching efficiency” and morale was high. “As soon as a few deficiencies are remedied,” he added, “this vessel will be in all respects ready for sea and is very eager to be on her way to her assigned station or task force.”

YP-422 embarked on her shakedown cruise in October 1942. Her prospective Commanding Officer, however, was not on board. Hubbard had become involved in a dispute with the Commandant of the Boston Navy Yard, Commander J. H. Keefe. Tense relations had developed between the officers in charge of the conversion work and those assigned to crew the ten YP vessels being converted at the Neponset shipyard. This culminated in an order from the Commandant prohibiting YP officers from approaching the conversion office or even speaking to any of the shipyard workers.

Hubbard fired off a memorandum to the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations (VC OPNAV) in Washington. He named the officer that he held responsible for the dispute and claimed that the prospective YP Commanding Officers were all “startled” by the order. Perhaps not surprisingly, this got Hubbard into trouble. On September 25, the Commandant requested that Hubbard be relieved of command:


Hubbard was determined not to go down fighting and sent a telegram to VC OPNAV protesting his removal:


His plea was ignored. On October 1, 1942, the Commandant of the First Naval District, Captain H. G. Copeland, sent Hubbard a memo detaching him from command of YP-422 and ordering him to report to the Commandant of the Third Naval District “for such duty as he may assign you.”


Hubbard’s departure under a cloud was an early sign of his unfitness for command. Unfortunately for the Navy, Commander Keefe’s advice that Hubbard should be put “under immediate supervision of a more senior officer” was not heeded. Six months later, Hubbard took charge of his second and final command, the USS PC-815, and sailed into even bigger disgrace.

— Chris Owen


Technology Cocktail

“Face it. We live in a barbarism. The shiny cars are driven by degraded men. You won’t be free unless they are. It has taken me ten hard years to make clearing everyone an accomplished fact. That I could do it was not enough. That you could do it was part of the major plan. My purpose is to bring a barbarism out of the mud it thinks conceived it and to form here on Earth a civilization based on human understanding, not violence. That’s a big purpose. A broad field. A star-high goal. But I think it’s your purpose, too.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1958



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?


[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney


Source Code

“I can take a look at my desk barometer any day of the week and get a better weather forecast than I get over the telephone. I’m being hard on the boys. Every year they get a little bit better. They’re finding the sky too. And then all of a sudden we get into passenger traffic left and right across the Atlantic, and we hear ‘above-the-weather flight,’ ‘radar-spotted weather,’ you see, and so on. They’re still finding clouds. They haven’t found the sky yet, see. Then they shot off a few cosmonauts, who became naught in Russia with great rapidity, and they found a great deal there called ‘the sky.’ And five dead cosmonauts later, the Russians must have decided that they should know something about it. But because they had lots of cosmonauts they probably haven’t bothered. But the point is, they send people up into the Van Allen belt, named after Van Allen. Who the hell heard of him? I don’t know, maybe he was the fellow who invented radiation fallout or something. In other words, they shoot people up into these areas, and they get scorched or something happens or something of that sort, and they’re in the big vagueness of ‘There is a sky.’ They’re still on this thing here, see.” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 29, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Captain Mary Sue Hubbard has just returned from correcting and bringing off a mission flubbed by three others. She, accompanied by Liz Ausley, did in 3 days what has been hanging fire for nearly 3 weeks. She bulldozed the biggest bank in Spain, bearded the Spanish Security forces and saved us $5500 in fees as well. She got the whole thing handled. MSH is the first SO Missionaire (spring 1967) and on each of the four or five she has run, has achieved consistent Power, having actually saved the day against terrible threats to Scientology in every single instance. We ought to put her under glass. If NATO had her on their payroll they could disband!” — The Commodore, May 29, 1969



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology technology is not only the processes. The basic principles of the tech are ARC, Theta Mest theory, the Axioms, the Factors, and those are equally valid in every part of the galaxy or the universe and other universes, and so, equally valid in Australia or Congo. The technology remains unchanged and valid from Book 1 to the highest OT level. What varies is the application of those principles to the specific case of the being, according to his circumstances. A case could consist of a fast retread of the basic concepts. Just as you are reading LRH taped lectures and applying them. Even if the world is filled with the new orbs or natural clears or new viewpoints, there’s the rights of beings data, that they have to self determinedly continue, change or end this game. And the LRH 1 bridge is for them. And it starts with Book 1.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Grady Ward reported this week that Eugene Ingram returned, by mail, the photographs stolen from his mother last week. Mrs. Ward apparently will continue her complaint against Ingram. “Since the postmark of the envelope (no return address) contains a postmark from *Portland, OR* (last three digits 721), the fraud becomes the *federal* crime of interstate transportation of stolen property, a base offense crime of 4 with a lot of possible sentencing ‘enhancements’ depending upon value and other coeval acts.”


Random Howdy

“I appreciate Shatner for being a survivor and roaring back to be virtually everywhere at once after his wife died and everyone had written him off as a hopeless drunk.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: March 15, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place at least through February 7.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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 now on Netflix.


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

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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] Tom Cruise’s hit movie couldn’t come at a better time for his Scientology best bud
[TWO years ago] Mike Rinder on the myth of the ‘reactive mind’ and how Scientology still ropes in new people
[THREE years ago] What’s $20,000 between friends? LA Mayor Garcetti presents a Scientology gift to city
[FOUR years ago] Scientology planning new series of books to rope in children?
[FIVE years ago] Laura D’s attorneys answer Scientology’s latest delaying tactic with a legal blast of their own
[SIX years ago] She’s back! Leah Remini builds a case for Scientology aggression in tonight’s A&E special
[SEVEN years ago] It’s a miracle! Scientology put ‘more than 10,000’ people in these 1,000 chairs!
[EIGHT years ago] 20 questions about Scientology — with answers that get to the center of a dying movement
[NINE years ago] Hey, IRS: Stunning photos inside the lavish personal offices of Scientology’s leader
[TEN years ago] Former Scientology Enforcer Marty Rathbun Examines His Past as the Church’s “Warrior”
[ELEVEN years ago] Amanda Palmer Dramatically Answers Questions About Her Connection to Scientology


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 3,044 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,549 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,099 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,089 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,980 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,284 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,155 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,260 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,707 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,049 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,615 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,534 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,702 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,283 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,544 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,580 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,296 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,860 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,175 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,350 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,901 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,032 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,370 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,225 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,344 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,700 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,003 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,109 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,507 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,383 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,966 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,461 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,715 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,824 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 29, 2023 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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, 15 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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