After graduating from West Point in 1982 with a degree in general engineering, Donna Peterson went on to become a helicopter pilot, a maintenance test pilot and the Chief of Protocol for the free world's largest military installation, garnering numerous awards for her performance along the way. She has been honored as an "Outstanding Female Veteran of Texas" and has been presented honorary memberships to both the Korean Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America for her support of veterans' groups and veterans rights. She was the Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in East Texas and her race in 1992 was named one of the "Top Ten Most Competitive Races" in the country. She accepted a commission in the U.S. Army Reserve and was promoted to the rank of Major. An accomplished speaker, she has appeared on national television programs including, Nightline, World News Tonight and CNN. She has been named to "Who's Who of American Women" and owns her own business in East Texas.