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Seeds of faith

"Seeds of faith" Continued...

Issue: "Getting paid not aid," Feb. 22, 2014

Susan soon became the first female and Asian gunnery officer to train U.S. Navy and Royal Air Force pilots. She said in a radio interview, “Father had taught us to believe so thoroughly in American democracy and in the Christian way of life, that I felt I must fight for it the best way I know how.” She was later promoted to lieutenant.

After the war, Susan worked for U.S. Naval Intelligence and the Library of Congress, then transferred to the National Security Agency in Washington, D.C., to lead a team of 300 agents working on top-secret Cold War projects. In 1947, she scandalized her community further by marrying an American Irishman, Francis X. Cuddy, who also worked for the Department of Defense as a code breaker. 

After Susan retired in 1959, the Cuddys moved back to Los Angeles with their two children. Like her father, Susan stayed active within her local Korean-American community. She attended a Korean Methodist church on Sundays, worried that younger Koreans would forget their heritage, then worried about their becoming insular as the Korean community burgeoned. Some family traits are hard to lose.

Today, North Korea suffers under tyranny, and the South Korean churches are far from perfect, but they are the early missionaries’ living legacy. South Korea sends out the world’s fifth largest number of missionaries per million church members. Almost 80 percent of Korean-Americans say they’re affiliated with a church. The prayers of missionaries did not go to waste. After all, God’s legacy is never stagnant, never stale, never fruitless. A legacy: Susan Ahn Cuddy, at a museum dedicated to Korean-American immigrants near Los Angeles next to a panel depicting thousands of Korean immigrants who came to the United States, including a likeness of herself at about age 4 and her younger sister Soorah, at about age 2.

Sophia Lee
Sophia Lee

Sophia is a features reporter for WORLD Magazine. She graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in print journalism and East Asian language and culture. She lives in Los Angeles with her cat, Shalom. Follow Sophia on Twitter @SophiaLeeHyun.


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