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  • Writer's picturePublic Affairs Chair

“Li’l Bit” Greenway – an Early Pioneer in the WAF’s

Jannie Greenway was born during the Great Depression in 1932 in Dalton, Georgia to R.W. and Selma Greenway and was the middle child of three children. She graduated Dalton High in 1951. She states that she had a couple of uncles who were wounded in WWII and her brother was in the Army for 2 years. She spent 21 years in the Air Force serving her country from 1954-1975 and was involved in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Jannie went to basic training in San Antonio and Lackland AFB and to Francis E Warren in Wyoming for supply school. She served in the Korean War and then in the Vietnam War, being stationed in Thailand. During her military service she lived in Puerto Rico, Thailand, Vietnam, and England. “I wasn’t in combat and my base was one out of 3 that wasn’t bombed” she recalls, thankfully. She remembers fondly the nickname of “Li’l Bit” she was given since she was only 5 feet 1-1/2” inches tall. “Don’t forget the half!” she jokes.

In Thailand she recalls a very emotional time where the women stood in a flight line watching aircraft fly in the direction of the war and then counting the fewer ones that returned. Jannie’s job was NORS control (non-operation ready status) where she worked in Southeast Asia. She would call for parts and the fighter plane would touch down, drop the part, and immediately take off again. Jannie graduated to Master Sergeant, the only woman out of five Sergeants. She reached the rank of Tech Sergeant during her service. When asked how she felt about being one of the few women leaders, she states, “We were the stepping stones for women in service just as the Army WASP was for us.” She someday wants to visit the WASP memorial in Sweetwater, Texas, and learn more about the courageous female pilots that helped pave the way for her and her Squadron 3743, Flight 3.

Some of her favorite times were being a part of the Francis E. Warren drill team. She enjoyed the fellowship and creative formations the team presented, similar to what marching bands do today. Her first job was gathering and distributing meteorology supplies and educational materials. At the headquarters at Offutt in Omaha, Nebraska, she helped log supplies by hand using the new Univac system (first computerized key punch system). During the last 6-7 years she had two jobs, working supply and as the First Sergeant for the Women’s Squadron in England (2 years) before being transferred to Lubbock, TX Reese AFB.

Reese Air Force Base was her home for 2-3 years when she retired in 1975. She nurtured her love of painting while working for Michaels and recently got to hang a lot of her paintings for show at her residential community. Jannie worked for a banking company and then for 17 years at the State Health Department in Lubbock, Abilene and then in Arlington where she retired.

Jannie’s awards include: 3 Vietnam Medals she received while stationed during a remote tour in Thailand from 1970-1971. She earned the Mary Torres Service Medal Award in England while she nearly became blind suffering from cloudy vision with cataracts in both eyes. She was awarded the Military Training Instructor award. She eventually had successful cataract removal surgery in England in 1972 and 1973.

Jannie was one of two female Veterans on the 2014 Texas South Plains Honor Flight. Her favorite places to visit were the Vietnam Memorial (where she helped lay the wreath), the Women’s Museum, and seeing the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. When asked what she hopes she is remembered for she states humbly, “that I served”. When asked what she might say to encourage other Veterans to go on the Honor Flight she beams, “They’ve GOT to go!”

Submitted by Katherine McLamore

Veterans Liaison Co-Chair

Texas South Plains Honor Flight

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