Born in New Jersey, USA, General Tunner was educated at West Point. He joined an Air Force which had no transport aircraft and no airlift strategy, planning or capacity. During his career he created the Ferrying Command, which flew new aircraft to Europe and the Middle East, and developed the Air Transport Command in its famous Hump operation over the Himalayas to China.

He commanded the Berlin airlift, which established the cargo airplane as an effective freight mover in an unprecedented demonstration of efficiency and productivity. For 13 months, the aircraft under his planning and direction supplied an isolated post-war Berlin with every product necessary to keep the city and its more than a million inhabitants alive.

General Tunner passed away on the 6th of April, 1983.