By Mike McClaughry


Definition of Shore Story

The definition of “shore story” is often mis-attributed as originating from the Sea Organization (of the Church of Scientology). It’s real origin is in the Navy, where sailors would often tell Tall Tales of their sea adventures to the locals on shore, as well as stories to each other about their adventures on shore.  “Shore Story” then came to have an additional meaning as a Navy military intelligence term, but you can still see it’s roots of on shore Tall Tales  (lies or exaggerations) in it’s later usage.I knew of this term when I was in intelligence on-board the USS Kitty Hawk.

The USS Kitty Hawk

I have put together a montage of images from my copy of the Navy book we were given of this time period. These are large images – click to enlarge.



When I was on the USS Kitty Hawk from 1965 to 1967, the term “shore story” was in use in an intelligence capacity.  I worked for the intelligence department on the ship, my job was keeping a folder for each pilot as to what each pilot was to do in the event of a nuclear war.


Mike McClaughry (left)  – my senior Dave Gardner (center)

When we were about to take liberty in Hong Kong, we were given a briefing that the communists there were looking to capture one of us guys who worked in the intelligence department. If they found one of us, they would kidnap us and take us to Russia where we would be tortured and interrogated. We were told to remove the designations from our uniforms that indicated what our job was aboard the ship. While on liberty, if anyone asked us what our job was, our shore story was to tell them that we worked on the flight deck.


Shore stories were not given to the rest of the crew, there was no reason to because they were not Intelligence personnel and they didn’t know anything that was secret anyway. Shore stories were for Intelligence Personnel to use when they were “on shore”.

L. Ron Hubbard had worked for US Naval Intelligence during WW II. As such, I am sure he heard the term “shore story “at that time. He simply appropriated the term for the use of Sea Org members when they put in to port. His meaning of it is the same meaning as it was when I was in Intelligence in the Navy. The only difference is, the entire crew was part of an Intelligence operation, and as such all of them were given the “shore story” because Hubbard was trying to keep secret what they were really doing there.

I decided to do a post defining the term Shore Story,  because I was shocked that there were NO RESULTS on google other than Scientology-related ones. These results have given many people a false impression that the term originated with Hubbard and his Sea Organization – which is completely untrue.

I hope this helps others to better understand this term.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Thanks for this Mr. McClaughry

  2. […] – and you thought it was what he was explaining that had value to you!! No, it was just a shore story, to expose you to lurid, shocking. emotionally laden content, so thinking would […]


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