David Tanner was born on 3 July 1923 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps during World War II and served in the Fourth Marine Division in the Pacific Theater. On 6 March 1945, then Corporal Tanner was serving as an automatic rifleman of a reconnaissance platoon on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands. Disregarding his personal safety, Corporal Tanner advanced in the face of enemy fire to aid in the destruction of an enemy position which was delivering a deadly fire on his platoon. The mission being successfully accomplished and the platoon having withdrawn, he returned to the same area and aided in the evacuation of the wounded even though the area was still subjected to enemy mortar fire. On several other occasions he exposed himself to enemy fire to deliver fire to protect the evacuation of the wounded. His courage and conduct earned him the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device for bravery. Corporal Tanner's medal was presented by Major General Clifton Cates, commanding general, at one of the most impressive decoration ceremonies ever held in the Pacific. More than 4,000 Marines paraded in honor of 744 officers and men of the Fourth Division who received medals for heroism on Iwo Jima. David Tanner continued serving in the USMC, including combat duty in Korea. He retired as a Master Sergeant in 1959.