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Nothing Was Ever Normal: Engineering Pioneer, Don Peeler, Breaks Silence on Once-Secret Stories of United States Missile and Space Programs

Don Peeler and his colleagues played a vital role in General Motors Division’s involvement with the nation’s first spy satellite, the recovery of a Russian submarine and the development of the world’s first stealth fighter. Until now, the heroic tales of their less-than-typical careers have been classified but, with the statutes finally lifted and Peeler’s generation starting to pass away, he is sharing their fascinating stories while there is still time.


Palm Springs, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/03/2014 -- Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, as millions flocked to their hum-drum offices, hundreds of men and women of their General Motors Division conducted their top-secret research. But nobody really knew, and secrecy was a way of life with their work shrouded by classification designations. The classifications have now expired, and one engineering pioneer is coming out of the woodwork to share he and his team’s collective story.

Everything is exposed in ‘Nothing Was Ever Normal: Memoirs of a Pioneer in the United States Missile and Space Programs’ by Don Peeler.


In the heady days of the early 1960s, the United States found itself perched on the edge of technological, sociological, and societal precipices. Advances made by its enemies with offensive ballistic-missile systems put America in catch-up mode, both on Earth and in orbit. Others were leading the race to space, and that was an affront to American safety, status, and national pride.
For the men and women employed as top-secret research workers at the General Motors Division, secrecy was a way of life. The projects they worked on—including Project Jennifer, Big Bird, Thor, Titan missiles, Matador, Regulus, the stealth fighter, and the Fastest Gun in the West—were cloaked in the highest security possible. In their labs, the Lunar Rover, Apollo Guidance, and the complex, multinational F-16 systems were born.

Don Peeler was a typical engineer in this high-stress environment, but his personal experiences were atypical. During his years at the General Motors Division, he experienced events that ran from the humorous to the heroic, and in Nothing Was Ever Normal, he shares his best memories of those days. For Don and his peers, there was no “normal” or any such thing as “standard operating procedures,” because what was occurring had never been experienced before. Compared to NASA’s Manned Space Program, their glory came from knowing that what they were doing was essential to the security of the United States. Now that their classification designations have lapsed, the stories of the “Band of Others” can finally be told.

“This book goes beyond reminiscing to take public, for the first time, details of programs that people didn’t know existed,” admits Peeler. “We worked in so much secrecy that I wouldn’t be able to discuss work when I got home each evening. Now that we can talk, it is time that the public became privy to the cutting-edge work we did. While of course being educational, readers will get a vivid sense of what it was like to work in an environment with no rulebook, boundless potential and the constant preparation for the next ‘anything’ that could happen.”

While the book contains many of his own experiences, for Peeler, this project is one to pay homage to those he shared three-decades with.

“I recently attended an event to mark the 65th anniversary of GM’s Division and, for the first time, I became acutely aware that we’re losing people quickly and that their stories are going untold. I’m thankfully still very healthy and active, and therefore see it as my duty to make our achievements public so that they can be properly recorded and get the due recognition they deserve. My own family now know it all and, after reading my book, so can the public,” he adds.

Peeler’s book can also play a vital role in professional and academic environments; as it’s one of just a few publications to cover formerly-secretive programs from a first-hand perspective.
‘Nothing Was Ever Normal: Memoirs of a Pioneer in the United States Missile and Space Programs’, from iUniverse, is available now:

iUniverse: http://bit.ly/1wQl9yO

Amazon - http://amzn.to/1zix49F

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1rDS6Xo

About Don Peeler
For twenty-nine years, author Don Peeler worked with the highly secretive Division of General Motors located in Santa Barbara, California. While at GM, he earned his MBA. An air force veteran, he later earned an engineering degree (BSEE) from Purdue University. He was born in Kokomo, Indiana.