This chapter introduces the history of U.S. naval aviation in Europe during World War I. Intense naval patrolling formed the heart of a military innovation destined to remake the face of warfare. The system of modern naval aviation was conceived in home waters as far back as 1910. In the cold, foggy expanse of the North Sea, English Channel, and Bay of Biscay, aeronautic pioneers built a new branch of the Navy one patrol. In a short time the U.S. Navy Department committed itself to establishing an extensive series of bases, schools, and supply facilities along the coast of Europe, an undertaking that required a massive construction program, the allocation of tens of thousands of men, the shipment of enormous quantities of supplies and building materials, and the manufacture of thousands of aircraft, engines, and all the sophisticated technological equipment that went with them.
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