Mary E. Burns Melson
Specialist (T) 2nd Class
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 04/211944 - 12/28/1945
Aircraft Simulator Instructor, Beaufort NAS, SC

She wanted someone in the family to serve in World War II and enlisted in part "because I knew my brother would not be old enough." She was born Mary Burns in Shreveport. The family moved to Danville, Virginia where she attended college and where she volunteered with the Red Cross and Travelers' Aid. Mary enlisted on her birthday in 1944 in the WAVES. She was trained as a Link instructor--a simulator for instrument flying instruction. She was teaching at the naval air station in Beaufort, South Carolina where she met her future husband, Robert Donald Melson, as one of her students. Because she was enlisted and he was an officer, they were not supposed to fraternize. They met on dates at church, however, where he practiced the organ. The couple married on December 7, 1945. Mary was discharged later that month on December 28 at the rank of specialist T, second class. After the war, they moved to his hometown, Haddonfield, New Jersey, where Mary had five children and worked as a nurse. The couple moved to Shreveport after they retired.