TALOA Alumni Association
Transocean Air Lines 1946 - 1960
To Roland Halper
By Joe Stachon
How does one write a tribute to this rare man? That he was one of the most loved and respected of
all those who were part of TALOA, IASCO and JAL is a certainty. I don't know where to begin. If I were
to write down all of his qualities as a human being and a friend, and relate all the precious
experiences we all had with him during the many years he flew with us, it would fill a thick,
The wisest of men throughout all recorded history have repeatedly said that these are the greatest
virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. I'm sure all of us who knew him will give him an
A+ in each of these categories. Truly, he was a very cultured renaissance man of many talents and at
the same time a very gentle kind and thoughtful man - a rare combination.
During the thirty years we frequently flew together I recall spending time together in cities and on
islands all over the globe and it was always a special pleasure when he was part of the crew. I
remember once we were stuck in Karachi with a load of passengers - all because of bureaucratic
bungling on the part of the Indian government. We were there for a whole week. During this time my
crew befriended an Indian craftsman who offered to sell us many beautiful pieces of his work at a
reasonable price. He visited us almost every day so we became quite well acquainted with
him. Once, we were seated on the ground in a circle with the Indian man in the center.
Somehow the subject of race came up and soon a heated debate was under way. Roland and I
(Roland more effectively) insisted that potentially there was no difference between the people on
earth, regardless of their race or national origin. As the debate reached a climax, one man who took
the "white supremacy" side of the debate suddenly poked a finger at the Indian man and exclaimed,
"Tell us which of us do you most respect?" This wise and gentle dark skinned man didn't want to
offend anyone so at first he stared at the ground with downcast eyes and then without saying a word,
he lifted his eyes and looked at Roland. There are times when silence is most eloquent. This was
one of those times. The debate was ended.
Roland is gone but those who knew him will never forget him. Our precious memories of him are a
favorite bequest indeed. Thank you Roland.