Cotton Cloth Ornament of Susan Ahn Cuddy is about 5 inches high.
We're celebrating and honoring Susan, the first Asian American woman to be in the Navy.
She faced and overcame years of prejudice against her. Make her your touchstone if you face prejudice of any kind in your life.
Here's Susan's story:
- When the Navy opened enrollment in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), Susan Ahn Cuddy applied, hoping to be part of the fight against the Japanese.
- She was rejected because she was too “oriental.” That didn’t stop her. She reapplied, was accepted, and became the first Asian-American woman in the Navy.
- Her hard work and success caused her to be recommended for Officer Candidate School. After completing her training, she went to Atlanta where she served as the first female gunnery officer training Naval fighter pilots how to shoot down enemy aircraft. She often met resistance both as a female and an Asian. She recalled one of many incidents: “A white male pilot disobeyed my orders. I said, ‘Down here, you will shoot when I tell you to shoot.’”
- After rising to the rank of lieutenant, she worked in the Office of Naval Intelligence where she faced more prejudice. Her supervisor did not trust her with classified materials. Working hard, she became a code-breaker, and after the war joined the National Security Agency (NSA). During the Cold War, she oversaw 300 agents in NSA’s Russia section.
- Susan faced and overcame prejudice against Asian-Americans and women. This may explain why she identified with Blacks in the segregated South, often using “colored” bathrooms and drinking fountains to show support for those who had no choice.
- Susan Ahn Cuddy Ornament about 5 inches high and hand-crafted.
- A 1.25 inch metal button displaying the official seal of the Office of Naval Intelligence.