Paradoxically, while the worth of aircraft in armed conflict as aerial scouts, pursuits and bombers was clearly demonstrated during World War I, the start of hostilities in Europe actually conspired to put the brakes on naval aviation’s nascent development as men involved in the activity of flight instead went off to fight a war in the trenches of Europe. But by the end of the conflict, the Navy had built up its aviation capabilities, turning out flying boats and seaplanes by the hundreds. At the start of World War I, the Navy’s first and only air station, located at Pensacola, Florida, had 38 naval aviators and 54 fixed-wing aircraft. Two years later, by the time of the signing of the armistice in November 1918, the air station was manned by 438 officers and 5,538 enlisted men and had trained more than 1,000 naval aviators. At war’s end, seaplanes, dirigibles and balloons were housed in steel and wooden hangars stretching a mile down the air station beach.