Susan Ahn Cuddy

Susan Ahn Cuddy (1915-2015) was the first female gunnery officer in the United States Navy. She was the eldest daughter of Ahn Chang-ho and Helen Ahn, the first married Korean couple to immigrate to the United States in 1902. She joined the Navy in 1942 and served until 1946, reaching the rank of lieutenant. Cuddy went on to work for U.S. Navy Intelligence, and later the Library of Congress and the National Security Agency. She retired in 1959 and returned to her birthplace in Los Angeles, California where she helped manage her family’s Cantonese restaurant, Phil Ahn’s Moongate until 1990.

In 2003, Cuddy was recognized by the California State Assembly as Woman of the Year for her public service. In 2006, the Asian American Justice Center of Washington D.C. presented her with the American Courage Award. Her life story is also the subject of the short biography Willow Tree Shade by John Cha and the documentary film Susan Ahn Cuddy: My Heritage by Richard Khim and Philip Cuddy.