Posted: January 18, 2015
Date: January 18, 2015
Roland was the
son of Arnold and Florence Roupe, born in Cedar Rapids on May 18,
1925. He spent most of his life in the Cedar Rapids and Marion area
except for time spent in the military, other travel, and summers in
his home on the Ausable River near Grayling, Mich.
Roland grew up
in Cedar Rapids and graduated from Franklin High School in 1942. He
worked for a year as a shipyard welder in Seattle, Wash., until
turning 18, the minimum age for entry into what was then the Army
Air Corps. He entered navigation training as an aviation cadet and
on completion of that course, received his commission as a second
lieutenant and was sent to Advanced Radar Navigation School.
Following that he was assigned to a B-29 bomber crew which was
dispatched to Guam to fly missions against Japan. Apart from the
missions which he said were pretty routine, memories of two events
stayed with him the rest of his life. Not too long after the
fighting to take Iwo Jima had ceased, it was necessary to land there
for minor repairs and to add enough fuel to insure they would make
it back to Guam. He and a crewmate scaled Mount Suribachi and from
that vantage point looked down on a scene of utter devastation.
Realizing that 7,000 United States Marines had lost their lives
there just weeks earlier was an overwhelming thought. Conversely, a
couple of months later, a second memory was very pleasant. On Sept.
2, 1945, flying over Tokyo Bay, he was able to look down on the deck
of the USS Missouri as papers were being signed ending World War II.
re-entered the Air Force and during the Cuban Missile Crisis was
assigned as an Atlas ICBM launch crew commander. Following that he
attended Staff Transportation Officer School and then assumed
command of the transportation squadron at Ramey Air Force Base in
Puerto Rico. Next, he was sent to Vietnam, where he served as deputy
director, Operations, of the Transportation Management Agency of
MACU Headquarters. His primary duty was to maintain surveillance
over aerial ports, but in addition, he evaluated implementation of a
new type of vessel serving waterports along the Mekong River. The
craft was capable of carrying and off-loading loaded trailers which
could be moved directly to their destinations, thereby lessening the
amount of cargo requiring handling in ports which had become
On returning to
the United States, Roland commanded the transportation squadron at
Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, followed by an ROTC assignment
at Michigan State University. Nearing the end of his career, he was
assigned by the Air Force to the Defense Logistics Agency at the
Detroit and Boston Regional Headquarters, respectively. During those
assignments he developed a freight consolidation program for
combining smaller cargos into truckload shipments for material
shipped from contractor plants to military destinations. Savings by
using lower truckload rates were substantial.
retirement from the Air Force, he traveled widely and on reflection
realized he had not only visited all 50 states, but had spent at
least one night in each of them. He also traveled extensively in
Europe and Asia. On one trip, which included a visit to Calcutta, he
was invited to meet with Mother Teresa. He found her to be a warm
and outgoing person, and somewhat surprisingly, a person with a
great sense of humor.
Among his awards
and decorations were the Bronze Star, Air Medal with Oak Leaf
Clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation
Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, several campaign medals and the
Vietnam Honor Medal awarded by that country.
interests was mycology, the study of mushrooms. His interest went
beyond the identification of species to actually raising shitake and
oyster mushrooms in his backyard in Marion. However, his major
passion was fishing. He was a member of Trout Unlimited, an
accomplished tyer, and had wet a line in waters from Puget Sound to
the streams of Vermont, and from Canada to Puerto Rico. But he
always regarded the Wapsipinicon as his "home" river.
He is survived by his children, Sheryl Roupe of Hiawatha, Teresa (Alex Zadeh) of Santa Barbara, Calif., Jeff (Penny) of Fort Worth, Texas, and Greg of lnverness, Fla.; grand-daughter, Jayne (Tobin) of Boulder, Colo.; and granddaughter, Diamond of Fort Worth, Texas. Additional survivors are his siblings, Dorothy Harlan (Don) of Cedar Rapids, Marvin of Windsor, Calif., and David (Marilyn) of Crestline, Calif.; and several nieces and nephews.