As the Commanding Officer of USS PC-815 from 21 APR 43 to 07 JUL 43, a period of only 79 days, Ron found himself disgraced and his naval career in shambles.
During his 79 days as CO of this US Naval vessel, Ron had managed only to depth charge a magnetic undersea deposit off the Oregon coast and fire upon the hapless goats on a deserted Mexican island, hardly the heroic stuff of medals and best-selling books as Hubbard hoped to have emerged with from WWII.
Hubbard insisted over and over to anyone who would listen that he had sunk two Japanese submarines off the coast of Oregon. Of the seven US Navy commanders present on scene, only Hubbard claimed that the two subs were there. The other six Navy commanders who were summoned to help Hubbard disagreed with him and saw no oil, wreckage, bodies, or any other evidence that would corroborate Hubbard's claims. Six Navy commanders and an Admiral said there never were any subs and that Hubbard had made a mistake. Hubbard disagreed with the world and said, essentially, what was true for him was the Truth and that everyone else, including an American admiral who had proven the year before that he knew more about Naval combat than the best of Japan's admirals, were all wrong.
Hubbard had demanded recognition for himself, his crew, and his ship and Admiral Fletcher said no. Hubbard could not argue with a man of Fletcher's stature. Worse, Hubbard was forced to admit in writing that his men had overeacted and machine-gunned a floating log thinking that it was a Japanese submarine that had surfaced in the dark.
Fletcher had given Hubbard the benefit of the doubt by concluding that the young lieutenant had made an honest mistake and had erred in the defense of America. It was no shame for Hubbard to have taken the actions he did given the remote possibility that enemy subs could have been operating in the area and that Hubbard had sonar reads that seemed to indicate submarines.
Accordingly, Admiral Fletcher allowed Hubbard to keep his command of the USS PC-815, this although Fletcher's formal report stated that there were no Japanese submarines in the area. No wreckage, bodies, or debris was found during the battle. There was simply no evidence that any subs were in the area.
Hubbard was emotionally distressed and physically exhausted following the 68 hour battle in which he had almost no sleep and returned to port. He was the butt of Navy jokes from San Diego to Anchorage as he piloted the sleek PC 815 into the harbor:
Hubbard was ordered to take the USS PC-815 down to San Diego to finish its shakedown cruise and get fitted with more gear. The rest was history. When the Mexican government lodged a formal proetst over Hubbard's shelling of an island in Mexican waters, Fletcher ordered Admiral Braysted to relieve Hubbard of his command and transfer him out of Fletcher's command for being, shall we say, a loose cannon?
Hubbard's actions off of Oregon and in Mexican waters had embarassed Admiral Braystead in front of the great Frank Jack Fletcher. It is an unforgiveable sin in the military to embarass a senior flag officer. Admiral Braystead summoned Hubbard to the flag office and, after thoroughly dressing down Ron for ten minutes in front of God and his assembled command staff, Braystead glared at Hubbard and declared, "Hubbard, you need a psychiatrist."
That insult cut Ron to the core, for 1943 was the era when all men were supposed to be strong and quiet and rugged and handsome just like John Wayne:
In 1943, any man who needed a psychiatrist was crazy, insane, weak, and maybe even a secret homosexual. Hubbard was none of that and was rather quite a hero and an adventurer, or at least he considered himself to be so. In fact, he considered himself to be a man's man and felt himself to be more like John Wayne than any man in Admiral Braystead's office. He wished he could punch Braystead in his fat mouth and knock him to the floor for this humiliating episode.
Hubbard was dismissed by Braystead and ordered to set in the waiting room of the Admiral's office. Ron heard Braystead give his adjuant the order to, "Offload this guy."
"Where do I offload a problem like Hubbard?" The adjudant asked.
Braystead tersely replied, "I don't know. Find some Navy school somewhere but keep him the hell out of the war and out of the front lines where he can't embarass the Navy. And definitely keep him off Fletcher's lines. Got it?"
"Loud and clear, Admiral!"
Hubbard's ulcer flared up when he heard those words. He realized that he had blown his second and last chance to command a US Navy fighting ship.
July 8 would twice prove to be a disastrous day in Hubbard's life. On July 8, 1943, Hubbard lost command of the USS PC-815 and was ordered to temporary duty stateside pushing papers for the Navy's Eleventh District. While other men fought a blistering war with the Japanese and Germans and received glory, Hubbard's naval career and dreams of military glory officially died on July 8, 1943. Hubbard would go into a sort of hiding following this day of ignominy. In his hiding he would discover what he thought were stunning secrets about the universe. Like the Japanese submarines, though, these secrets would prove to be elusive and yet nevertheless threatening and possibly deadly to Hubbard if he did not fight to find and destroy them using weapons and tactics he had not yet dreamed of.
Hubbard began to develop a host of physical and emotional problems following his drubbing by Admiral Braystead.
Life had been easy for Ron in the 1930's as a fiction writer among other fiction writers. Ron could drink and spin tall tales of adventures and the other writers accepted it all uncritically and chalked up Ron's talented confabulations to his superb imagination.
The US Navy, however, was not a jovial drinking and bullshit club for civilian fiction writers and instead severly rebuked Hubbard for his wreckless and egotistical behavior. It was all a major reality check for Hubbard and his ego:
"I have sent a message to the CinC Asiatic as of this morning stating that I wish you to be removed from Brisbane, stating that you are making a nuisance of yourself."
"This officer is not satisfactory for independent duty assignment. He is garrulous and tries to give impressions of his importance. He also seems to think that he has unusual ability in most lines. These characteristics indicate that he will require close supervision for satisfactory performance of any intelligence duty."
"LIEUT. (JG) L.R. HUBBARD IVS USNR ORDERED RETURN US VIA [USS] CHAUMONT AND REPORT TO COM 12 [the 12th Naval District, San Francisco]. HE IS UNSATISFACTORY FOR ANY AVAILABLE ASSIGNMENT HERE."
"LT L RON HUBBARD IS IN COMMAND OF YP 422 COMPLETING CONVERSION AND FITTING OUT AT BOSTON. IN THE OPINION OF THE COMMANDANT HE IS NOT TEMPERAMENTALLY FITTED FOR INDEPENDENT COMMAND. IT IS THEREFORE URGENTLY REQUESTED THAT HE BE DETACHED AND THAT ORDER FOR RELIEF BE EXPEDITED IN VIEW OF EXPECTED EARLY DEPARTURE OF VESSEL. BELIEVE HUBBARD CAPABLE OF USEFUL SERVICE IF ORDERED TO OTHER DUTY UNDER IMMEDIATE SUPERVISION OF A MORE SENIOR OFFICER."
In the US Navy, L. Ron Hubbard was not Colt Winchester Remington or any of his other fictional personas. He was not surrounded by his bemused fellow writers who chuckled at his stories and winked at his false bravado. In the US Navy, Hubbard was a man out of his league both personally and professionally.
That he had master's papers to operate ships did not make him a commander of men or an officer in the finest traditions of the US Navy. There was a huge gap between steering and navigating a ship and having control of one's mind and emotions in a military setting where life and death hung in the balance and often depended upon the commander. Hubbard could handle a ship alright, but he was careless with its crew and indiscriminate in his use of the powerful weapons of war. Indeed, he had a shown a willingness to shoot at anything he found suspicious the first chance he got to pull the trigger.
Hubbard's tendency towards indiscriminate acts of force that first manifested itself in the US Navy would characterize his actions for the rest of his life -- as would his tendency to lash out at people who criticized him for his flagrant disregard of the rules and his gratitious use of force to destroy the many nebulous threats against him.
Hubbard's behavior in the US Navy while in command of the PC 815 foreshadowed the manner in which he would someday run his private navy where he was the Admiral and those who dared question him would find themselves thrown overboard, locked in the chain locker, or declared to be Hubbard's enemy and Fair Gamed in what would be Hubbard's vicious and dirty personal world war against his real and imagined enemies.
While at Princeton for a Naval School, Ron developed severe pains in his back and neck and was sent to Walter Reed Medical Hospital for a few days.
The overworked doctors at the Walter Reed Medical Hospital seldom if ever read the personnel reports of their patients. All they had time to do was to look at the medical chart and scribble in notes. A young doctor had accepted without question Lt. Hubbard's claim that he had been injured while escaping from the Japanese in Java during a secret intelliegence gathering mission to the island following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Impressed by Lt. Hubbard's heroism and suffering, the doctor gave Ron the morphine he had requested for "extreme pain in the back and neck."
Ron returned to his hospital room, pulled the curtains shut around his bed, and took two tablet of morphine from the bottle of twenty.
In a few minutes, the morphene hit his bloodstream and relaxed his entire body and mind. The images of Admiral Braystead and of all of the other senior officers disappeared from Hubbard's mind along with the disgrace of their cruel written reports.
The morphene soothed Hubbard as he lay in his hospital bed. Reaching into the small nightstand next to the bed, he pulled out a small book hidden in his shaving kit and began to read:
"'Do what thou will,' shall be the whole of the law."
"I will do as I will," Hubbard said to himself as he quietly whispered an incantation to close the pentagram around him he had made in his mind. He then summoned demons to do his will and show him the secrets of the universe and take vengeance on the jealous, petty, and inferior men who had derailed his glorious military career and denied him recognition as the hero who had sunk two enemy submarines.
Ron drifted off into an agonizing morphene dream of a faraway place. He had had this dream over and over for several months. The dream always began the same way: A volcano, a giant explosion, and the screams of countless people dying.
Hubbard was certain that it was from his past life on the island of Krakatoa in Java when the volcano erupted in 1883 in a violent explosion, destroying the entire island and killing 36,417 people.
Ron also saw a chain back to another life in Pompeii in 79 A.D. when that volcano erupted and killed 4,000 people and buried much of the island.
Ron would relive his deaths in Krakatoa and Pompeii over and over in what would turn into over two years of dreams fueled by US Navy-supplied painkillers prescribed for his various injuries.
The explosions were vivid and tremendous. The screams were real. Then Ron saw the souls of the countless dead rising from the volcanos into a dirty sky.
In this dream at Walter Reed Medical Hospital, Ron had the same dream but this time an evil being appeared above the clouds of souls and began to trap these souls. In the dream, Ron knew he had summoned a demon and that an archdemon had indeed come. This was a good sign for Ron as it meant he had secretly perfected his summoning skills such that he could now make archdemons obey his will.
In this dream, the archdemon said to Hubbard, "The power is more than the volcanos. The explosions are more than the volcanos! I trapped everyone with a power greater than the volcanos! I will show it all to you in the next five years. You will know it all by the end of 1948! My great power will be seen again in two years! You will see my great power of old anew in two years! My power will explode again and then you will know that I am returning to earth and thou Hubbard, thou will serve me!
"Then two years after my power is shown, I will cause my loyal soldiers to appear to the peoples of earth! They will see my silent, hidden soldiers reappear in bright and mysterious glory and thou Hubbard, thou will serve me!"
"I will serve you," Hubbard replied in the dream. "I will serve you."
"And I will glorify you and make you a prince of the power of the air," said the archdemon.
"Give me your name!" Hubbard insisted, this his right as the magician.
"Nay! My name you cannot know now, but I will send my servant to you three years hence and he will tell you my name! Remember: Two, three, and four years shall pass with my sign given in each year and all you need will be shown to you. Then thou will
serve me as a prince of the power of the air!"
With that the archdemon vanished and the dream ended with Hubbard covered in sweat, screaming profanities, and being restrained by large male orderlies. "Lieutenant Hubbard! Are you okay? You were having a nightmare!" the head nurse said to him.
In the 1930's Ron had purchased and studied a reprint of "Eulis" - a 19th century book on Sex Magick by Paschal Beverly Randolph, a master of black magick. Ever since that time he knew that black magic was somehow his future and so he had began a secret study of the black arts with secret practitioners known only to each other. Hubbard lived a part of his daily life in this closed and secret world and liked it.
This dream of a strange being, of an archdemon prophesying to him while he was in a morphene dream in Walter Reed, convinced Hubbard of what he had also always known: He was a chosen one for a new age of man.
All Ron had to know was to bide his time and wait for 1945, 1946, and 1947 for the prophecies of his dream to be fulfilled.
These would be the worst years of Hubbard's life as the archdemon threw him into hellish personal circumstances to test his worthiness and resolve.
Bill and I were strolling along the Left Bank recounting what Madame had told us about Jack Parsons, Volni Matheson, and her late husband Arnaud.
"Makes you wonder how the hell Ron ever fit into any of that," I said.
Bill took a drag from his Marlboro and looked at me like I was a stupid wog. I knew the look.
"Damn psychics!" he retorted. "What does she know?"
"I don't know," I answered, "But we'll find out more when we go back tomorrow."
Bill was silent and looked ahead blankly as we walked and he smoked.
"You are going back tomorrow, aren't you?" I quizzed him.
"Yeah, I'm going back tomorrow," he said.
We were both very interested in learning how a German rocket scientist had something to do with the origins of Scientology.