Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy
Veterans Care Coordination is proud to salute our client and friend, Susan Ahn Cuddy, as our Veteran of the Month. She has truly lived a life of service and love of family and country.
The daughter of early immigrants to this country from Korea, Mrs. Cuddy never forgot her family’s heritage. She has served the California Korean-American community and has participated and led in a variety of organizations in memory of her father and mother. Her father, Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, was an influential organizer as a younger man and made numerous trips to the Far East in an attempt to better the lives and prospects for Koreans in this country; as well as to help advance the cause of Korean independence from Japan in the period before World War Two. Today, the main freeway interchange in Downtown Los Angeles is named in his honor.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Mrs. Cuddy felt the call to serve; both because of patriotism and love of this country and also because of how the “Japanese were erasing Korea.” At first, she couldn’t join the military because she was Asian. “Nobody knew what a Korean was,” she explained. Eventually she was able to overcome this discrimination. She went to boot camp in 1942, and then to the Miami Naval Air Station, where she taught air combat tactics to American and Royal Air Force pilots. Along the way, she became the first female gunnery officer in United States history.
After World War Two, she was promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to Washington, DC to the Bureau of Naval Aviation. Later she went to the National Security Agency, where she was in charge of a code breaking operation and met the man that was to become her husband, Chief Petty Officer Frank Cuddy. The two worked with top-secret cryptology. “It was an easy relationship,” laughed Mrs. Cuddy. ‘We didn’t have to keep secrets.”
Eventually the pair moved back to the Los Angeles area. Lt. Cuddy worked in the family’s restaurant, Moongate, meeting all kinds of stars of the era; and began to get involved in projects throughout the community. She is 96 years young as of this writing, and has been honored by the Asian-American Justice Center. Grace Yoo, the Executive Director of the Korean-American coalition says “She’s my role model.”
Son Flip explains that her mother “teaches us all how to live in America; she was born here, she served, she is a progressive, open minded role model and is dedicated to being a good American citizen who nevertheless never forgot her heritage.”