Last week, Susan Ahn Cuddy passed away. She was the first American woman of Asian heritage to enlist in the military. It was posted on one of the women veterans’ Facebook pages, so I thought it would share it out here.
This is what she ended up doing:
“She instructed pilots in air combat tactics before becoming a gunnery officer, and subsequently a lieutenant. Eventually she became the naval liaison from Naval Intelligence to the Library of Congress.”
Being a woman in the military can be hard enough; at that time, it had to be really difficult for her, since it was in 1942. My grandfather was a minister in San Francisco following World War II, and had a church, so he hired the Japanese. No one else would give them work, and he and the family got a lot of hate. The Japanese community recognized him posthumously a few years ago.
So I’m sure she got bad reactions from the men for being a Korean and for being a woman.
One of the things I noticed (in hindsight) was that I could tell if the men had been socialized with women. There were men who probably had sisters and the example of treating them as people. Then there were men who thought that the only purpose for women was to date and have children.
All the women could do was put up with the bad attitudes, or as we said in the transportation corps, “Suck it up and drive on.”
Little known fact: My great-great grandfather was James Edward Adams, one of the first missionaries to go to Korea. He wrote the book on missionaries, which is still available more than a century later.