After writing a short history of the USS Epping Forest supporting mine sweeping boats I decided that the “History of Small Boat Minesweeping in the US Navy” was something I wanted to continue researching. I had hoped to document their history for posterity, so that these shipmates would not be relegated to the “dustbin of history”. Smaller USN units, particularly those involved with boats, do not meet the priority assigned to Naval Vessels in the historical community – no matter how many thousands of sailors served in these organizations over the years. In my resulting 10+ years of research, I have now interviewed >460 veterans, assembled >3,300 photos, nine movies, thousands of documents, books, magazine articles, and memorabilia associated with small boat minesweeping. I have discovered that the Mine Countermeasures Support (MCS) concept of the “minesweeping mother ship” was invented by Germany in WWI. This is a concept that the US Navy did not formalize until 1950, and did not make permanent until 1962 with the re-designation of the Epping Forest to MCS-7.
Since two brutal recessions have interfered with my ability to finish researching and writing more of the book (I needed to find employment as a result) the book research and writing have been limited, but I am still gaining more information as people read this article. I am planning on starting with a website which gives me the ability to share thousands of items that cannot be included in a book.
I may be contacted for information, or unique contributions of photos, memorabilia, documents, or any anecdotes you would feel worthy – in telling the history of small boat minesweeping.
Ed Sinclair – 2011