L. Ron Hubbard on horseback, Helena, Montana; circa 1914 The next event of note, he rightly described as an automotive adventure, and recounted a hair-raising journey through the Rocky Mountains in his grandfather’s Model T Ford. The roads, at best, were paved with sand, and generally little more than winding deer trails above a sheer abyss. Then followed equally challenging treks across Nevada deserts (where water went to the radiator and the tires blew out every twenty miles) before finally arriving in San Diego where his father served in the United States Navy aboard a destroyer and photographs show Ron fully at home on the decks.

Although the story of L. Ron Hubbard as America’s youngest Eagle Scout is fairly well known, the broad strokes should be recounted here if only as a prelude to what follows. Having entered Scouting in 1923, he soon led Washington, DC’s Troop 10 to victory in national scouting competitions, and otherwise distinguished himself entirely. That he additionally represented American Scouting at the White House and shook the hand of President Calvin Coolidge is of lesser import. But in either case, the thirteen-year-old L. Ron Hubbard had become a reasonably famous figure in fairly adventurous circles. Moreover, and more to the point, he possessed a dozen practical skills—from first aid to field cookery— to see him through forthcoming adventures.

L. Ron Hubbard with a Model T. Ford

What amounted to the next of those adventures came in 1927 with the first of two Pacific voyages to Asia. Again, much has been said of Ron’s Asian journeys: how he made his way to the island of Guam where his father served at the United States refueling station; how from Guam he braved typhoons aboard a working schooner to finally land on the China coast; how he then made his way inland to finally venture deep into forbidden Buddhist lamaseries, and how the whole of it figured into the larger quest from whence came Dianetics and Scientology. What is not generally known, however, and is particularly relevant here, are the incidental details.

For example, among those encountered through the course of his second Asian venture (commencing in 1928, and following a short stint with Montana’s 163rd National Guard), was a Major Ian Macbean of the British Secret Service. Precisely why this Macbean would take a seventeen-year-old L. Ron Hubbard through a tour of British intelligence efforts from Peking through northern China is not known. Nonetheless, and as we shall see, Macbean’s lessons were to serve Ron well. Also through these Asian travels came Ron’s encounter with Cantonese pirates, the engineering of a jungle road across Guam’s denser corner, and the evening he decked an Italian swordsman named Giovinni. (Although not before he took a saber cut across the left cheek, and Macbean nearly lost a hand).

L. Ron Hubbard as youngest Eagle Scout: 1924

An Introduction to L. Ron Hubbard Continued...

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