Lake Elsinore, California
Senator Melissa Melendez is a native of Youngstown, Ohio. She entered the United States Navy upon graduating high school and attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where she became a fluent Russian language speaker. Melissa then became one of the first women approved by the U.S. Navy to fly aboard EP- 3E reconnaissance aircraft overseas, conducting intelligence gathering operations. She served her country with honor and distinction as a Russian translator during the height of the Cold War, and flew covert missions during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Melissa has 5 children with her husband Nico Melendez, a Commander in the Navy Reserves. Their oldest son currently serves on active duty as a U.S. Navy Diver.