Those photos in your grouping are amazing--please show more when you have time. The autographed Balbo painting/card with the Savoia-Marchetti SM.55 flying boat from the 1933 flying armada to the US is fantastic-- I'd like to know what he wrote in Italian to Stirling. A bit of trivia, the Marx Bros. "A Night at the Opera" (1935) characters of the 3 foreign aviators with beards, is generally regarded as a lampoon of Italo Balbo's 1933 flight with 24 seaplanes to the US. I've heard that Yates Stirling also had a friendship with J. Edgar Hoover. If they kept a running correspondence, those have to be some interesting letters.
"When Balbo's air armada stopped at New York City on the first leg of its return flight to Rome in July 1933, Stirling's admiral's barge met Balbo's plane when it landed in Jamaica Bay off Floyd Bennett Field. Stirling and his Army counter-part, Major General Dennis E. Nolan, commanding general of Second Corps Area, in charge of army units and facilities in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Puerto Rico, accompanied Balbo's police escort motorcade to the Mayflower Hotel. Stirling had requested an allowance from the Navy Department for the purpose of hosting a dinner for Balbo on his first night in New York. Receiving only $50 from Washington, the socially-connected and popular Stirling was undeterred. "Through the support of men of means who were Navy admirers, I gave to General Balbo and his officers a most elaborate dinner at the Columbian Yacht Club on the Hudson River, now demolished in the development of the Park project. How such a dinner could be given, with over a hundred guests and champagne flowing freely, on the small voucher that I signed, would be no mystery when the guest list is read. Among them were Vincent Astor, Grover Whalen, Ellery W. Stone, E. J. Sadler, and W. S. Farish, all public spirited citizens and some of them members of the Naval Reserve. It has always been difficult for the services to interest Congress in the advantage of appropriating sufficient funds for official entertaining. Balbo enjoyed himself at the dinner, and we were all glad to have such an intimate view of him and his daring men. I regretted that I did not speak Italian or he English, but there was a fellowship developed that evening between the Italian flyers and our other guests, in spite of the handicap of language. I was surprised months later to receive from the great Mussolini the decoration of the Crown of Italy. It was in recognition of the Navy's help to Balbo and his airplanes while in New York.""
Stirling retired on May 1, 1936, when he was transferred to the Navy Retired List, having reached the statutory retirement age of sixty-four. He and Major General Nolan had been born eight days apart and faced mandatory service retirement at the same time. The two retiring two-star flag officers that had frequently appeared together during their respective last commands, were jointly honored with a retirement banquet at the Hotel St. George by naval, military and New York society, led by President Roosevelt's mother, Mrs. James (Sara) Roosevelt, who posed for photos arm-in-arm with both men and declared, "I am very fond of and have the highest regard and admiration for both of the honored guests"