The Gypper, The Blonde, and the UAV
A lot of people remember Ronald Regan as President, many remember him as an actor as well, but few remember that he was a California State National Guardsman before WWII in a Cavalry unit (with horses). When the war broke out, Captain Regan was attached to the US Army Air Force’s 1st Motion Picture Unit to shoot and distribute war films.
Well old Ronnie sent Yank photographer David Conover to the Radioplane Munitions Factory just outside the Van Nuys Airport in June 1945 to shoot some pictures of workers and the neat little Radioplane OQ-2 UAVs that the company was making.
The Radioplane OQ-2 (also known as the Target Drone Denny 1 TDD-1) was a neat little 8 -foot long remote control plane that had a 12-foot wingspan. These were used as low flying targets for AAA batteries and some 15,000 were made. It was one of the first of what today would be called a UAV.
Well, stay with me here, the photographer came across a stunning young redhead named Norma Jean Dougherty at work in the factory and took a series of photos. She was treading water while her husband James was away in the Merchant Marine.
Mrs James Dougherty, June 26, 1945
Well, the photos went big and Norma Jean got some modeling work. These days she is better known under an assumed name and with a little color in her hair, and today, Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926- Aug 5, 1962), fifty years ago….died.