Segments in this Video

William Tunner: Introduction (01:35)


Tunner demonstrated how to organize and conduct massive airlift operations during WWII. The three major airlifts changed history.

Tunner's Early Years (02:03)

Tunner was born in July 1906 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He graduated from West Point and entered the Air Corps. Tunner transported troops and became interested in the concept of air transport.

Ferrying Command (03:42)

President Eisenhower ordered the ferrying service be improved to include overseas transport. Tunner hired 3,500 civilian pilots, reorganized command structure, and transported planes around the world with efficiency. He worked with Nancy Harkness Love to establish the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron.

Over the Hump Flyers (03:38)

Tunner was sent to the China-Burma-India Theater to coordinate flights over the Himalayas. Tunner's men established maintenance centers and upgraded search and rescue operations; Tunner focused on the care of his men.

China-Burma-India Theater (01:49)

Transport planes steadily increased the tonnage they delivered over The Hump; pilots flew 5,321 tons of supplies on Armed Forces Day alone. Hear a quote from Winston Churchill. After the war, Tunner became deputy commander of the Military Air Transportation Service.

Berlin Blockade (03:09)

In June 1948, a Soviet general in Berlin declared the city part of the Soviet occupation zone; the city had a 30 day supply of food and fuel. The Air Force began flying essential items into the city but did not follow Tunner's plan at The Hump; Tunner arrived in Berlin one month later.

Berlin Airlift (03:40)

Tunner revised procedures at the two air bases open to western aircraft. On Air Force Day 1948, Tunner and his staff organized a record setting day of transports. Tunner announced the construction of a new airport in Berlin; his airlift prevented a nuclear invasion of the Soviet Union.

Tunner's Later Career (02:33)

Tunner received the Distinguished Service Medal for his service during the Berlin Blockade. He commanded transport operations during the Korean War, including a full-scale medical airlift. Tunner retired in 1961.

Credits: Legends of Air Power: William Tunner (00:29)

Credits: Legends of Air Power: William Tunner

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Legends of Air Power: William Tunner

Part of the Series : Legends of Air Power
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William Tunner was born in New Jersey, and grew up to become Commanding Officer of the Air Force’s Ferrying Division. During the China-Burma-India conflict, he oversaw 71,000 tons of material delivered to a beleaguered China. After WWII, Tunner flew a total of 124.5 million miles as leader of the Berlin Air Lift, earning this Legend a Distinguished Service Cross from General Douglas MacArthur.

Length: 23 minutes

Item#: BVL129023

ISBN: 978-1-64023-389-8

Copyright date: ©2001

Closed Captioned

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