JoAnn Webb was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in May, 1933, spent the majority of her adolescence in Springfield, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Fountain Hill High School near Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1951.
After graduation, Webb joined the United States Air Force, initially signing up for three years of service. In February of 1952, she attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, before being stationed at Roslyn Air Force Base in Long Island, New York, working as a plotter at the Early Warnings Radar Station.
In late 1953, Webb contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis from a mosquito, and spent November 1953 until January 1954 recovering at Mitchel Air Force Base in Long Island, New York. After returning to Roslyn Air Force Base, Webb met her husband, who was also in the air force. They married and Webb left the military in 1954.