By: John Cuddy – 12-23
Born and raised in South Lawrence, Joseph Cuddy attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School and graduated from Central Catholic High School in the Class of 1952. Joe played basketball, hockey and football and ran track. After graduation, he enlisted in the US Army.
As the middle of 5 brothers, Joe’s brother, Bill, graduated from Central Catholic in 1946 and enlisted in the Navy. John was in the Navy Reserve when he was in high school at Central, graduating in 1949, and enlisted in the Army and went to Korea. The Army sent John to Officer Candidate School in Fort Monmouth, NJ then to Camp Gordon, GA. John was a Lieutenant Colonel when he retired from the Army Reserves.
Joe followed in his two older brothers’ paths, by enlisting in the US Armed Forces in March 1953. His younger brothers Jim and Gerry lived, worked, and volunteered in the Merrimack Valley. Their children continue to follow in their footsteps.
Joe completed sixteen weeks of basic training at Fort Campbell, KY and attended the Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA and was assigned to Fort Bragg, NC. Joe joined the 187 Airborne Regimental Combat Team. He flew to Fort Lewis, in Seattle, Washington, as part of an Army six-member crew, where he was the clerk for the cruise.
The ship traveled to the Aleutian Islands and continued onto Yokohama. He then took a train to Camp Chickamauga in Beppu, Japan. While in Japan, Joe attended Jumpmaster School. He completed 36 parachute jumps.
On his way home from Japan, Joe was part of “Operation Gyroscope” a United States Army program implemented where entire regiments were rotated out of overseas service together rather than as individuals. They stopped at Wake Island, in the western Pacific Ocean, an island which was attacked by the Japanese during WWII.
The second stop was in Honolulu and then in San Francisco. He slept in a swing seat against the wall in the plane. The group got off and got right back on at each stop. They had an emergency landing in San Francisco due to a lost engine. Joe was discharged in March 1956 as a Corporal.
Joe returned from his service in the Army and worked for New England Telephone in Lawrence as a lineman, while attending Lowell Tech, where he earned his degree in Engineering. Joe worked as a PBX engineer in Boston and in Manchester, NH until moving to AT&T as a Senior Project engineer in Greensboro, NC. Doing contract work for military bases, Joe had the opportunity to travel the world, with high security clearance from the United States Department of State. As a runner, Joe also ran on the AT&T running team and competed in many races including three Marine Corp Marathons.
Joe and Peg (Fitzgibbons) celebrated their 65th anniversary this year. Together they raised their family of 4 children in Lawrence, MA, Manchester, NH, and Greensboro, NC. He retired at 60 years old and enjoys spending time with family, golfing, watching sports, and spending winters with his wife in North Myrtle Beach.
Joe has served as a Eucharistic minister at St. Patrick’s Church in Hampton Beach for many years. He is a proud member of the American Legion, the Elks, and the Pioneers for over 50 years. Joe is proud of his children, grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and his fellow veterans, especially those in his extended family. Joe celebrated his 89th birthday in November.
When our cousin, John Cuddy, reached out to us from Arizona, asking for us to interview our dad regarding his time in the service, we were honored by his request. What an opportunity to sit down and hear dad’s stories of that time in his life. John reaches out to our parents often, sending our dad cards and calling to connect. His support is genuinely appreciated.
John shared that he regretted not having interviewed his uncles Bill and John before their passing. We are delighted to have had the chance to revisit our dad’s time serving our country and appreciate John’s commitment to recognizing veterans across the country.
The Valley Patriot invites any citizen of the Merrimack Valley to reach out, contact John.Cuddy@Yahoo.com, and record your family member’s service to our Nation. This is an important document to leave to future generations.
John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (also known as the Seabees) after retiring from the US Navy; he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 26 years. If you know a World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War Veteran who would like their story told, please email him at John.Cuddy@Yahoo.com. ◊◊