Cadet makes history at GGC

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A 26-year-old man in Georgia Gwinnett College's ROTC program recently became the institution's first cadet to sign a commissioned officer contract with the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Cadet Jose Targa, an exercise science major from Puerto Rico, was officially contracted by the U.S. Army during swearing in ceremonies held March 7 at the college.

The ceremonies mark Targa's agreement to continue his ROTC training over the next two years and to accept an assignment as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army upon completion of his training and graduation from GGC.

Targa and 60 fellow cadets lined up during the ceremony, which was attended by army officers and Targa's wife, Daniela Targa, as well as GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman.

"I am proud of him for the service he's already given and for the choice he has made to lead -- at GGC and in the Army," Kaufman said. "It's a choice to serve others, regardless of what it might entail."

Targa was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, where he served as a staff sergeant for the National Guard's 48th Brigade, 121st Infantry out of Georgia. A Guardsman since he was 19, Targa said his year in Afghanistan gave him much experience.

"When you are in a combat situation, you are pushed in ways you've never been pushed before," Targa said. "I had to become a leader when the bullets were flying because people were depending on me."

Targa's superior officers spoke highly of him.

"We evaluate our candidates based on scholarship, athleticism and leadership," said Maj. Kevin S. Fracassa. "Cadet Targa has proven himself in all of those areas."

A native of Puerto Rico, Targa grew up in Chicago. Now a Lawrenceville resident, Targa said military life is his passion.

"I'll be wearing my uniform for as long as God gives me the grace to wear it," Targa said. "This was the right choice for me and for my family."