Seafarers: Joe Crociata

Posted: February 7, 2013 - 7:06pm | Y-12 Report | Volume 9, Issue 2 | 2013

Joe Crociata (center)

After his first year in ROTC at the University of Notre Dame, Joe Crociata had the opportunity to ride a submarine and made the decision then to spend his life at sea. It was the sophisticated systems and the small crew of about 150 sailors working on a specific challenge that attracted him. “I enjoyed the camaraderie of the small unit. You'd know everybody on board, and it's exactly what I was looking for,” said Crociata. He became a ship's captain, and after 30 years of service, retired a commodore with 13 vessels under his command.

“Tight” is one word to describe space on a sub. The back half is occupied by the nuclear propulsion plants, and missiles and torpedoes are carried in the front. “Our only limitation in endurance is food. We make our own oxygen, fresh water and power,” he said. Quick to admit that he'd prefer to be at sea, this New York native moved to Tennessee in 1996 to begin his second career — on land in Y‑12's nuclear operations. Again, it was the highly technical environment that drew Crociata.

He'd previously crossed paths with Y‑12, once as the Navy's program manager for Seawolf when Y‑12 was tapped to build the new sub's mammoth prototype propulsor (see page 36). “There's a synergy between the Navy and Y‑12. The Navy is dependent on Y‑12 to supply material for nuclear reactor fuel,” he said. “Both organizations require rigor in working with nuclear materials and have great responsibility for public safety. I'm proud to be part of Y‑12's long tradition of serving our country.”