A snapshot biography of Susan Ahn Cuddy

Black and white historical photograph of Susan Ahn Cuddy with her two brothers, all in military uniforms representing different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. The man on the left is in a U.S. Navy sailor's uniform, smiling towards the camera. In the center, a man in a U.S. Army Air Forces uniform looks directly at the camera with a slight smile. On the right, Susan Ahn Cuddy is in a U.S. Navy officer's uniform, crossing her arms with a confident smile.
Susan Ahn Cuddy with her brothers, 1942

Susan Ahn Cuddy grew up with parents deeply involved in helping Korea achieve independence. Her father would lose his life after sustaining injuries from torture during imprisonment while fighting for the movement back in Korea. And the family home in Los Angeles, where Susan was raised, often housed Korean immigrants, many of whom also fought for independence.

Tough and motivated, at twenty-seven years old in 1942, Susan joined the U.S. Navy, becoming the first female gunnery officer, and served until 1946, reaching the rank of lieutenant. 

And after the war, going against the Anti-miscegenation laws of her time, Susan married Francis X. “Frank” Cuddy. She and Frank, an Irish-American, wed at a Navy chapel in Washington, D.C., the only place that would marry them.


  • Photograph is of Susan with her siblings, all of whom had enlisted in the U.S. military. Taken in 1942.
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Sources: “Susan Ahn Cuddy.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Ahn_Cuddy / U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph / “Ahn Siblings World War II.” Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Foundation, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ahn_Siblings_World_War_II.jpg