Originally a teacher like her aunt, Harriet Clark, Melissa earned her nursing degree from the Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. She was stationed for eight months at the Army Air base at Alexandria, LA, before graduating from the air evacuation school at Bowman Field, KY.
Melissa visited with her brother, Capt. Ernest D. Smith, Jr., in England before he was killed in action in Germany on November 2, 1944. She later visited his grave at a military cemetery in Belgium.
Melissa’s sister, Sarah Barbara Clark, graduated from King’s Daughter Hospital in Virginia as a nurse cadet in May 1944.