Joanne Margaret Blair Martin 
September 17, 1922 – August 3, 2003
Class: 44-W-8
Training Location: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.)
Assigned Bases: Childress Army Air Field (Tex.)
Planes flown: PT-17, BT-13, AT-6, AT-11
Graduation Details:
Dates: March 14, 1944-October 18, 1944
Number of Trainees: 114 trainees, 49 graduates
Place: Gymnasium, Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas
Graduation Speaker: Lieutenant Colonel Roy P. Ward, Commanding Officer, 2563rd AAF Base Unit Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas
Master of Ceremonies: Major Edwin W. Hubbard, Director of Training, 2563rd AAF Base Unit Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas
Distinguished Guests: None
Band: Camp Barkley H. R. T. O. Band

From Fly Girls Facebook page

Joanne’s daughter, Deb Thompson, reached out to us and shared these photos and her mom’s story.

“My mom, Joanne Blair Martin, WASP 44-8, was trained to fly before entering in a Stearman. Her WASP sisters nicknamed her ‘Curly’ as her hair was as straight as a stick. During her service, she flew several planes such as the AT-6 and the B-11 bomber. She often flew planes equipped with the Norden bomb sight to train young men to be bombardiers. She also ferried enlisted men to various spots around the country.”

A story that really shows off Curly’s personality is one about her and her lifelong friend, Ty Hughes Killen. Curly and Ty were flying a couple of army mechanics from one field to another and the two guys had been boasting about how they never get sick when flying. Ty and Curly took one glance at each other in their pilot seats and knew what they wanted to do. They began flying in tandem and the circular movements with their hands was all it took for those guys to never forget the loops, turns and dives these two ladies put them through! Needless to say the guys were green down to their toes and once they landed, they took off and never looked back.

When the war ended, Curly attended the University of Arizona in the college of Education in the Women’s PE Dept. During that time, she worked at the Davis Montana Airbase as an instrument trouble shooter for the B-29. Curly also flew in several local airshows as a stunt pilot and was appointed Deputy Pilot #1 for the Pima County Search and Rescue.

In her later years, she and four other local women who had been WASP, built an Ultralight and flew it until they couldn’t anymore.

Joanne is greatly missed and will forever be our inspiration. We salute you, Curly!

WASP trainees from class 44-W-8- (left to right) Mary Jackson Kinney, Anne Dailey Marshall, and Joanne Blair Martin in front of an AT-6 at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas

Additional sources:
Wings Across America
Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas. WASP Collection



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