Melissa J. Stockwell graduated from the University of Colorado and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. She became part of the 1st CAV division and in 2004 her unit was deployed to Iraq. On April 13, 2004 her HUMVEE was hit by a roadside bomb and Melissa suffered the loss of her left leg above the knee. She became the first female to ever lose a limb in active combat and was medically retired from the Army in 2005.
Melissa has since become a certified prosthetist where she fits other amputees with artificial limbs. She is also a competitive athlete and competed in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China in the sport of swimming. She has since turned to the sport of Paratriathlon and is the current 2x World Champion in her class. She hopes to once again become a part of Team USA when Paratriathlon makes its debut at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.