Evelyn Sylvia Greenblatt was born on July 28, 1917 in Atlanta, Georgia. Her father, Samual Greenblatt, was a Spanish-American War veteran. Early into her adult life, Greenblatt showed an interest in flying and began taking flying lessons. Her parents did not agree or approve of her flying but eventually accepted their daughter's passion. In 1944, they even purchased her a plane.
Unlike some organizations, like Women's Army Corps (WAC), WASPs only required women to have minimum requirements of education and pass a personal interview to join the service. Greenblatt graduated from The Westminster School in 1934 and began attending Vanderbilt before signing up to join the WASPs during World War II.
Background of the WASPs Organization
WASPs stands for Women Air Force Service Pilots that is a combination of two subgroups: Women's Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD). Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran helped create these subgroups in 1942 and in September of 1943, the groups were combined to form the WASPS. Nancy Love directed the WAFS and Jacqueline Cochran directed the WASPs and the WFTD. When the WASPs were formed, they were labeled as civilian volunteers, so they were not placed in military and veteran status during their service. The WASPs disbanded in 1944.
Greenblatt's Background in Flying
Greenblatt flew planes long before signing up to become a WASP. In the 1930s, she began taking flying lessons in a Piper Cub airplane. In 1940, Greenblatt signed up for flight instructions at the Candler Field, which is now Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. In November of 1941, just one month before America entered World War II, Greenblatt received her private rating in flying. Greenblatt started her in career in the military as a WASP in November of 1942.
Joining the WASPs
In November of 1942, Greenblatt joined the 319th Squadron Army Air Corps Women's Flying Detachment to ferry training planes, fighters and bombers to other training bases across the United States.
When the WASPs formed in 1942, Jacqueline Cochran gathered information about the British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) regarding women pilots and their abilities, which is shown in this letter received by Greenblatt from Cochran. Cochran used this information to create the WASP, the WFTD, and the WAFS.
Greenblatt's Requirements to become a WASP Trainee
WASP trainees were required to have a pilot's license and complete a minimum of 75 flight hours. Greenblatt's certificate of pilot status demonstrates the flight hours she completed in order to meet these requirements.
Greenblatt's WASP Trainee Assignments
Training assignments carried out by Greenblatt and her fellow WASP trainees included night flying, navigation training, Link trainer (Blind Flight Simulator), ferry type aircraft instruction, principals on pilot type aircraft, procedures in Air Transport Command and basic physical training. Greenblatt also trained as an Air Traffic Controller. This certificate shows that she completed her blind flying course. In November of 1942, she completed her training became a 1st class WASP member.
Training Complete....Items Issued
After WASPs graduated from basic training, they were given Civil Air Patrol (CAP) status. The salary for the CAP status was $150 per month during training and then increased to $250 per month after training. WASPs had to use their own wages to pay for housing, food, clothing, and transportation during service. The only items issued to the WASPs were textbooks, flying clothes, goggles, and parachutes. Greenblatt was given a memorandum receipt to show that she was given these items during her service in the WASPs.
Evelyn Greenblatt photoWilliam Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Evelyn Greenlatt Howren (1942)William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Greenblatt, along with the other women in the WASP, were assigned WAC uniforms, which they had to keep clean and neat while on duty. The uniform included a hat, skirt, and a jacket that is seen in this photo. On the jacket there is a pin that was given to the WASP members that shows their regiment.
Women Air Service Pilots wings (1942)William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Evelyn Greenblatt photoWilliam Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
After Greenblatt completed basic training on April 24, 1943, she officially graduated and received her orders. Stationed with the 5th Ferrying Group out of Love Field in Dallas, Texas, one of her first orders was to ferry planes from Boeing Aircraft Factory in Kansas to Clarksdale School of Aviation in Mississippi. Greenblatt and other WASP members would ferry newly construed planes from the factories to military bases, which was one of the main roles for the WASPs. From 1943 to 1944, Greenblatt ferried aircrafts to multiple bases across the United States and tested a variety of types of planes. Greenblatt also went to Cochran Field in Georgia to test fly AT-6's during her service.
Evelyn Greenblatt PhotoWilliam Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Greenblatt's Assignments and Reports
While in the WASP, Greenblatt's task included flying shipments around the United States and filling out pilot reports. One of which is the inspector's and pilot's final acceptance report about their flights, which is shown by the document. The report describes the flight and the inspection done by Greenblatt.
In December of 1944, the WASPs disbanded. The women were not give veteran status or veteran benefits.
Greenblatt's Thoughts on Military Status for WASPs members
Greenblatt did not agree with the military's decision about keeping WASPs as civilian volunteer status and sent this telegram to the Military Poll Committee on her thoughts.
Evelyn's Honorable discharge papers (1945-11-21)William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Greenblatt Continued Her Passion to Fly
After the war, Greenblatt went to Atlanta and started a flight instructor business at the Municipal Airport with her business partner, Himman V. Howren. The flight school was called Flightways, Inc and lasted from 1947 to 1968. Between the years 1950 to 1965, Greenblatt also worked as a secretary and the treasurer for the Georgia Aviation Trades Association to help spark interest in Georgia Aviation. As the years passed, Greenblatt's Flightways, Inc grew to instruct ground and flight instructions, new and old aircraft sales, photography, and mechanical services and repairs. In 1968, Greenblatt business, Flightways, Inc, was sold to Lockheed.
Women's Aero Club
Greenblatt was a member of the Women's Aero Club, location in Atlanta. She helped create and organize the club in 1947.
In the years after the war, Greenblatt also participated in a mass flight of 150 Piper aircraft from Pennsylvania to other locations across the United States in 1946. She was charter member of the 99s in Georgia that was created by Amelia Earhart in the 1930s of women pilots.
Greenblatt's Transcontinental Air Race
In the 1950s, Greenblatt participated in the All-Women's Transcontinental Air Race from Santa Ana, California to Detroit, which is also called the "Powder Puff Derby" in the 1990s.
Greenblatt attended the 25th anniversary WASPs reunion in Indio, California on Jacqueline Cochran's property.
Press release (1969-03-05)William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
The Wait Has Finally Ended......
After 35 years of waiting, Evelyn Greenblatt and the other WASPs members were finally given their veteran status for their military service during World War II. Greenblatt achieved much in her life from joining the WASPs to creating her own business. He passion for flying helped modernize societal norms regarding women in aviation. In 1994, she became only the third woman named to the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.
Newspaper article: Earning her WingsWilliam Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
This exhibition was created by Chelsea Lovely Neese, a graduate student of the University of West Georgia
Documents and photos from Evelyn Greenblatt Howren Family Papers Collection at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
Ann B Carl. A WASP Among Eagles: A Woman Military Test Pilot in World War II. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2010
Jean Hascall Cole. Women Pilots of World War II. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1992.
Sara Collini. Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II exhibit. National Women's History Museum. April 23, 2019. https://www.womenshistory.org/exhibits/women-airforce-service-pilots-wasps-wwii
Molly Merryman. Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II. New York: New York University Press, 1998.