Melvin was born in Grand Island, New York on August 13, 1920. He joined the Army Air Corps on October 28, 1942. Gunnery school was in Harlingen, Texas and armament school at Lowry Field, Colorado. At Northern Field, Tennessee, he was assigned to a B-25 crew as upper turret gunner. Due to a physical condition he was later grounded. Melvin volunteered for overseas duty and joined the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Meridian, Mississippi in late 1943 as an armorer. The squadron departed for the CBI theater on January 11, 1944, spending a short time in India and the balance in China.
After the war, he was employed in production management by E.I. DuPont in Buffalo, NY from 1948-1964; by Thatcher Glass in Muscatine, Iowa from 1964-1970; by Smart-Pak Industries in North Miami, FL from 1971-1981; and by Minnesota Fabrics from where he retired in 1982.