USS Pandemonium Treasure Island Biological and Chemical Training Ship.

The Navy built a mockup of a ship at Treasure Island which was used to train military personnel how to clean up after a Chemical and/or biological strike. The ship was later built to contain laboratories and a large shower room for decontaminating the personnel exposed to the biological and Chemical agents in the testing.

All Hands
The Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin
July 1957 Nav-Pers-O Number 486
The Good Ship ‘Pandemonium’ p. 16 ,Treasure Island,
All Hands
The Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin
July 1957 Nav-Pers-O Number 486
The Good Ship ‘Pandemonium’ p. 176 ,Treasure Island,

All Hands
The Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin
July 1957 Nav-Pers-O Number 486
The Good Ship ‘Pandemonium’ pp 16., Treasure Island,

ARRIVING AT NAVAL STATION, Treasure Island, with orders from the Chief of Naval Personnel to teach Biological-Chemical defensive measures at the Damage Control School, CDR John H. Stover, MC, usn, had the bright idea that simulated “reallife” shipboard conditions would be a big help in teaching the course.

That idea, plus plenty of willing hands, plus help from Navy headquarters, resulted in Pandemonium.

Here’s the story:

There was no ship in the area that could have answered the needs of the course.

Even if there had been, it would have been a tough job to obtain exclusive use of it for class-room studies.

But—parts of ships would provide the same desired simulated effect in demonstrating the use of modem techniques. There was a deck house handy, and it was not in use.

From various naval installations in the area came promises of “junk,” surplus gear, scraps for enlarging the “mock-up” to include a partial deck, some old guns, winches and a bit of hull at the bow.

As soon as the promised materials began to arrive, labor was performed by the personnel of the service school command and through the Naval Receiving Station in the form of transient personnel. Soon students “came aboard” for training, learning through actual demonstration and practice.

Through the chain of command application was made to the Bureau of Ships for funds to sink pilings and raise the deck to the level of an actual PC-type vessel for better simulated working conditions. BuShips, realizing the value of such a project, made the funds available. Later, pilings were sunk and the deck house and partial deck were hoisted into place upon them.

This odd-looking vessel with only deck house and partial deck, looked somehow like a house on stilts, with no underpinning.

But now more scraps began to arrive, metal pieces, hatches, and fittings. Plans and photographs of a PC-type vessel were procured, and construction continued.

Fifteen months later, in February, 1957, the “ship” had progressed to an undreamed-of stage. She now measured 173 feet in length, 24 feet at the beam.

BuShips provided money for steel, a wash-down system and utilities and had given cooperation in procuring the many miscellaneous items of equipment.

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery gave financial aid and equipment for shipboard laboratories. BuPers provided funds for shore connections to run the utilities to the ship, and aided by procuring items of equipment including surplus guns, compasses, electrical gear, flags, sextants, and binoculars. A “ship” was taking shape.

On 1 Feb 1957, ceremonies for christening the strange craft were held at the Atomic-Biological-Chemical Defense section of the Naval Schools Command at Treasure Island. The name Pandemonium had been decided upon, since it best described the little ship’s decks immediately following a simulated attack by enemy forces.

At the ceremony, the Twelfth Naval District Band struck up the National Anthem, the Jack was hoisted, and uss Pandemonium (PCDC-1) swept down the ways Here, thanks to a bright idea, students will sail through many years of classroom studies learning defensive measures againt biological and chemical attack.

-H. Ellis, J02, usn




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