Be a good American citizen... but don't forget your heritage.
Born to Lead - East West Players Youth Theater
March 24 - SAC attended the Pasadena City College performance of Born to Lead. This play is well done and firmly reaches the hearts of the audience. The performers let you feel Dosan's spirit and SAC's energy. Young people who see the play are definitely seeing things differently after experiencing Born to Lead.
This performance preceded a panel of women veterans speaking about their choice to serve our country and how it impacted their lives. The sharing of their expereinces was very meaningful. SAC was surprised the ladies were all Navy vets. SAC opened the door for many strong willed women to follow her lead.
Thanks to East West Players and PCC and to all those who joined SAC in the audience.
Email received after March 25th show
Today we were lucky enough to see the East West Player's production of Susan Ahn Cuddy's amazing life story. Being a Korean American, her story has really impacted and resonated with me and I was wondering if she or any of her close relatives could answer a few questions for me.I would really like to get to know her and her life story better and I have been searching the internet for more information but it's disappointing to see that there's not a lot out there. I believe that she should definitely receives more international publicity considering her phenomenal life achievements. It's crazy to me that before today I had no idea who she was. Once again, I am really interested in getting in contact with her and if this is possible I would really appreciate a response.
Thank you so much!
Susan Ahn Cuddy and Irene Park who played the role of Susan in the Born to Lead show at Pasadena City College meet after the play.
East West Players Youth Theater production of Susan Ahn Cuddy's story Born To Lead - click picture to get more information from EWP.
Born to Lead: The Susan Ahn Cuddy Story By Vivian Keh-Hue
Despite the challenges facing women and minorities of her generation, Susan Ahn Cuddy never took for granted the sacrifices of her democracy. With the freedom to speak her mind and make her own choices, Susan held fast to realizing her dream of one day becoming an officer in the U.S. Navy, persisting even though she was initially rejected because of her ethnicity. Her diligence paid off – she became the first female aerial gunnery officer in the history of the U.S. Navy, and by the time World War II ended, she had earned the title of Lieutenant. Through her choices and actions, Susan forged a life characterized by fearlessness and integrity, qualities which we attribute to our heroes. Indeed, in all spheres of her fascinating life, she was a trailblazer and her story merits telling.
Check out SAC stories by Koream Journal online or in print. Koream has covered SAC for decades.
Click to go to KoreAm online
Susan Ahn Cuddy Day for Los Angeles County March 10, 2015
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Susan at LA CO Board of Supervisors Susan Ahn Cuddy Day
LA County Board of Supervisors, Susan Ahn Cuddy and daughter Christine Cuddy
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recognized Susan during Women's History Month. "Today, we pay our respects to a woman of many firsts in her stellar career in national security and dedication to the community by proclaiming "Susan Ahn Cuddy Day" throughout Los Angeles County." said Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas.
At 100 years of age - Susan Ahn Cuddy is the oldest living Korean born in America. She might be the oldest living National Security Agency code breaker. She might be the oldest living graduate of Belmont High. She was born in Los Angeles at 1411 West 4th Street in the Ahn family house - just a couple blocks from Good Samaritan Hospital. She is a true "Angelina"! She is an awesome pioneering woman. You may know Susan played Second Base at LA City College. Did you know she was The Head of Women's Baseball, also? When you actually realize all her achievements it is an unbelievable legacy.
Susan is truly a Pioneer - a real go-getter high flying achiever. Being a minority woman at the time of her historical achievements makes her accomplishments in a man's world more meaningful.
She is an outstanding American citizen who never forgot her Korean heritage. Her journey through life as an American born daughter in one of California's first Korean immigrant families is a unique story. Her father Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and her mother Yi Hye Ryon (Helen Ahn) were the first married couple to come from Korea to the US in 1902. Dosan was a freedom fighter and respected leader who dedicated his life to save Korea from Japanese imperialism. He believed in Service and civic responsibility not Power leadership. Susan's mother was a central figure in the early Korean community in Southern California. Helen Ahn instilled sincere patriotism for Korea and America in Susan and the other Ahn children.
Susan invited a challenge and overcame every difficult obstacle she faced like poverty, racisim and cancer on her pathway to becoming the esteemed person and remarkable role model she truly is.
January 16, 2015 with her 100th Birthday Scroll from the kindness of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Susan is in great health at 100. Nevertheless, she has experienced some physical challenges worth sharing in her section about Health. Her latest accident was a fractured femur on March 31st, 2014. With a lot of hard work and the aid of good care givers Susan is walking again. Hydration and eating enough decent food are two key elements in recovery and maintaining health. Making sure Susan gets adequate protein is a must. FYI - since 1998 Susan has recovered from breaking one hip twice, the other one once, a broken wrist, a broken elbow, a broken shoulder, a severe kidney infection from dehydration and not eating and the latest femur fracture. She certainly is tough.
Susan is also a survivor of two battles with breast cancer. She had the will to win the fight and has been in remission for twenty years. Many thanks to the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and all their supporters joining the fight.
SAC served in the US Navy and at the NSA
Photos from US Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida in 1943. Susan was a Gunnery Officer with the rank of Ensign at this time. She later became a full Lieutenant. You can see her officer's uniform is different than the other WAVES - black hat, gold buttons and gold striped sleeves. It is quite an accomplishment for a woman in those times - mores so an Asian woman in a time when racism was high against Asians because of the Japanese being the enemy. She trained pilots air combat tactics and how to shoot down Japanese planes. She also trained pilots fighting in the battles in Europe. She trained Royal Air Force Pilots, as well. Susan could tear down a 50 caliber maching gun as well as load it and fire it. She was good with a shotgun having a sharp eye and quick hands when it came to skeet shooting. Official US Navy photograph.
Susan Ahn Cuddy is a Korean American Pioneer. She is an outstanding American citizen who has not forgotten her Korean heritage. Her journey through life as an American born daughter of one of California's first Korean immigrant families is a unique story. Susan overcame many difficult obstacles on her way to becoming a remarkable and successful person. Her courage to do the right thing has been a big part of her success.
Her achievements as a student leader, an athlete, the first Korean American woman in the US military services, her work for US Navy Intelligence and her role at the National Security Agency reveal her courage. She has been recognized as a role model and received many awards for her contributions to society. In 2003 California State Assembly member Mark Ridley Thomas presented her as his choice for Woman of the Year. Her most recent honor was the 2006 American Courage Award presented to her by the Asian American Justice Center in Washington DC.
Susan comes from a family an amazing family. Susan's father and mother, Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and Helen Ahn came to America in 1902. They were the first married couple from Korea to arrive in America.Their Korean passports were 51 and 52Her father is a highly respected historical figure in both America and Korea.For more information about her family search Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, Helen Ahn, Philip Ahn the famous actor, Philson Ahn, Soorah Ahn or Ralph Ahn.
Seoul 2003 on her book signing tour
Susan Ahn Cuddy's Biography
I am enjoying reading about your family's story and learning more about my Korean American heritage. I graduated from UC Irvine with a Bachelor's Degree in Asian American Studies, but I didn't learn as much as I would have hoped about the early days of the Korean pioneers in Los Angeles. Recently, I saw the Dosan Ahn Chang Ho Memorial sign above the Harbor Freeway and wondered who he was. Thank you for sharing your history with such grace, candor and bravery. Your book is a treasure. Sincerely, Lauren Kim
Go to ""Links" for more information. Go to "Books and DVD" to purchase a copy.
Dosan's Last Japanese Prison Photo Sodaemun 1937
March 10 is a day Susan Ahn Cuddy remembers. It is Dosan Ahn Chang Ho's death day. After dedicating his entire life to free Korea from Japanese Imperialism and to help Koreans all over the world, Susan's father suffered a painful death. Dosan's life of struggling to obtain Korean Independence and the torture during his five terms in Japanese prisons in Korea left him quite ill with pulmonary tuberculosis and peritonitis being his final battle. Every breath Dosan took was for Korea and Korean people.
Susan followed in the patriotic footsteps of her father. She served the Korean Indpendence Movement in America as a leader of the young Pioneer Generation Korean Americans. She was born in Los Angeles and grew up in a difficult and demanding time for a young girl in an immigrant family trying to save her parent's country. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor she answered the call to duty and joined the US Navy - the first Asian Woman in the Armed Forces. She also found a way to fight to free Korea and seek justice for the death of her father.
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