After graduating from the University of Colorado in 2002, Melissa was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army’s Transportation Corps. Two years later, during a deployment in Iraq, she was on a routine convoy when her HUMVEE was hit by a roadside bomb. The blast resulted in the amputation of her left leg above the knee and she became the first female to ever lose a limb in active combat. After a year of rehab at Walter Reed Army Medical Center she was medically retired with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
She quickly adapted into a life of sports and went on to swim in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics before turning to the sport of triathlon in 2009. She is a three-time Paratriathlon World Champion and a bronze medalist from the 2016 Rio Paralympics. She is a level 1 triathlon coach and currently serves as chair of the USAT Women’s Committee and is a trustee with the USAT Foundation.
Melissa is a proud above the knee amputee, a proud American and proudly lives a life of sport. She feels she has done more in her life with one leg than she ever would have done with two. She is married to her husband Brian and together they have two young children, Dallas Patrick and Millie Lynn and own a prosthetic company in Colorado Springs, CO. Melissa is currently training with hopes of her third Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2021.