Don was an East Texas farm boy, where Don finished High School in 1951.
Afterwards, he continued his education in college at Lamar State College of Technology where he studied electrical engineering.
He left college in 1953 to join the United States Air Force.
His specialty in the USAF was automatic flight control systems, and he was assigned to the General's maintenance crew. Don functioned to keep the Generals autopilot and many others working properly during his two-year tour there.
Don was honorably discharged from the USAF in the fall of 1957. He returned to college and later earned his BS EE degree.
His first career assignment was with the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington where he was assigned to the flight control system on the DYNA-SOAR project. This program was a manned or unmanned space plane with a skip-glide reentry profile. Both his engineering degree and his military teaching experience of approximately eighteen months were instrumental in his selection for this assignment at Boeing.
This assignment led to his joining North American Aviation in Downey California. North American was staffing the Logistics Training Department at that time (1962), in preparation to support the NASA Apollo program. Don was assigned as instructor for the Apollo flight control system.
Stabilization & Control Systems
Astronaur Borman presents awards to Instructors Bennet and Sohler