1999 Hall of Fame Recipient
Late Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner (1906-1983)
directed Berlin Airlift operation
A native of New Jersey and son of an immigrant father, General Tunner was awarded an appointment to West Point upon his graduation from Roselle High School. He was one of 77 cadets in his West Point graduating class who chose flying as his military career. He joined an Air Force which had literally no transport aircraft and no airlift strategy, planning or capacity. During his career which spanned two wars, he created the Ferrying Command which flew new aircraft to our allies in Europe and the Middle East, and developed the Air Transport Command in its famous Hump operation over the Himalayas to China. We honor him in the Air Cargo Hall of Fame for his outstanding performance in command of 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 Berlin- a city under siege- with every product necessary to keep the city and its more than a million inhabitants alive. Coal, heating oil, medicines, food and necessary supplies were airlifted into Berlin in an endless stream of transport aircraft operating at 2 minute intervals day and night in every kind of weather. The Berlin Airlift was a live demonstration on the future of the Air Cargo Industry.