Bertha Nichols McClure was born on 9 September, 1921 and grew up in Cranford, New Jersey and Skowhegan, Maine during the Depression. She attended nursing school at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, New Jersey.
McClure joined the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) in 1944 after her graduation from nursing school. She was sent to Atlantic City, New Jersey for basic training. Following basic training she was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey where she worked on the gastrointestinal pneumonia ward, and then she transferred to the Pacific Theatre at Saipan, Guam and Iwo Jima as a nurse on the upper respiratory wards.
McClure was discharged from the ANC in 1946, but rejoined during the Korean War in 1950 and was stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She was discharged from the ANC in 1952 after marrying and becoming pregnant.