Commander Samuel Tanner, a native of McDonough, Georgia graduated from West Georgia College in Carrollton, GA, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. After completing Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL, he attended flight school in Corpus Christi, TX and Kingsville, TX where he earned his Wings of Gold in 1998.
Upon being selected to fly the S-3B, Commander Tanner reported to the “Shamrocks” of VS-41 in San Diego, CA where he qualified as a fleet replacement pilot prior to his assignment to the “Topcats” of VS-31. During his first sea tour, he deployed aboard USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69) in 2000, and again in 2002 aboard USS JOHN F KENNEDY (CV-67) supporting the opening days of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. Commander Tanner reported to the “Shamrocks” of VS-41 as an instructor in November of 2002, working as a Landing Signal Officer and Quality Assurance Officer. While at the “Shamrocks” he was selected for transition to the F/A-18C, and reported to the “Gladiators of VFA-106 for fleet replacement pilot training in May of 2004.
In May of 2005, Commander Tanner reported to the “Sunliners” of VFA-81, and served as the Safety Officer while deploying aboard USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73) during her PARTNERSHIP OF THE AMERICAS cruise in 2006 and the USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) for her 2007 combat deployment. Upon completion of this tour, he reported to the “Valions” of VFA-15 where he served as both the Maintenance and Operations Officer for the squadron while deploying aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) for the 2008-2009 combat deployment.
In January of 2010, Commander Tanner reported to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve in the J-7 as the Joint Lessons Learned Program Director, assuming responsibility for coordinating lessons learned activities across the services, combatant commands and foreign allies. Commander Tanner later served as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director of J-7 while assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Commander Tanner earned his Masters Degree in Diplomacy from Norwich University and also attended the Joint Forces Staff College for Level II Joint Professional Military Education while serving on the Joint Staff.
In December of 2012, Commander Tanner reported to the "Blue Blasters" of VFA-34 as the Executive Officer. CDR Tanner has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Joint Achievement Medal, Strike Flight Air Medals (four awards), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), and numerous campaign and unit citations. He has accumulated over 780 arrested landings and over 3200 flight hours. CDR Tanner is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Wendy Ridling of McDonough, Georgia and they have two Labrador Retrievers, Piper and Finn.