CWTP John Targ

Unknown Sailor

CWTP John Targ

John Targ served as an Army private in World War I and as a Navy watertender in World War II. He was a chief petty officer on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Targ was born March 22, 1896 in Lowell, Massachusetts. His parents, Walter Targ and Mary Niedojadlo Targ, were Polish immigrants. They had about 10 children, two of whom died in infancy. A third was about 18 when he died in 1920.

It isn’t clear from public records when John Targ joined the Army, but a ship transport record said he returned from France in April 1919.

The 1920 Census showed him living back with his parents and five siblings in Lowell. He was a machinist while both parents were weavers at fabric mills.

Public records do not make clear, either, when Mr. Targ first enlisted in the Navy. An article in the local newspaper said he re-enlisted for four years in February 1929.

Mr. Targ married a local woman, Sophie Ciesla. She died in May 1930.

He married Grace Ann Arlington in March 1934 and they made their home in San Diego, California. City directories for 1935 and 1937 said Mr. Targ was in the Navy, but at some point he joined the Naval Reserve – probably between enlistments. The spring 1940 Census said he was a music store salesman. He returned to active service that summer and went aboard the battleship Arizona on Aug. 29.


Sources: the Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun; Lowell National Historic Park; Navy and Army records; Census; grave markers; Washington marriage record; San Diego, California, city directories. Lowell National Historic Park photograph.  This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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