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    From Rowing to Recruiting: A Navy Nuke Finds His Rhythm

    From Rowing to Recruiting: A Navy Nuke Finds His Rhythm

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Bridget Saunders | 190731-N-FG941-104 NASHVILLE (July 31, 2019) Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bridget Saunders 

    Navy Recruiting Command

    Story by Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Bridget Saunders

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NNS)—Just before dawn in Nashville, Tennessee, quiet reigns over the waters of Percy Priest Lake. Out of the fog and fading night, a single rower can be seen gliding with a practiced ease. 

    Outfitted in a blue and gold rowing uniform, Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Timothy Mazzotta, a recruiter for Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Nashville, pulls on the oars of his one-man racing craft.  

    Rowing is not only part of Mazzotta’s morning routine, but his passion. His love for the sport developed at a young age and has continued to propel him throughout his Navy career. 

    “One of my favorite things about rowing is when you go out on the water, you don’t bring your cellphone or anything else with you,” said Mazzotta. “Whatever you have going on in your life, you leave it on the shore and just focus on rowing and being better.”

    The Orlando, Florida native was first introduced to rowing in high school while living with his father. The then sixteen-year-old had just transitioned to a new school and was walking through campus when he was immediately noticed by the crew team. Mazzotta’s tall frame made him the perfect candidate, and the members encouraged him to join. Soon after accepting the team’s offer, Mazzotta found himself hooked. 

    “I love it,” said Mazzotta with a grin. “It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve ever done in my life.”

    After graduating high school, Mazzotta attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where he majored in mathematics and continued rowing as part of his college team. When faced with the prospect of graduating without a clear career path in mind, the Navy opened the door for him. 

    Mazzotta sought out a local recruiter and immediately became interested in the Navy’s nuclear power program. The nuclear field consists of some of the most highly trained Sailors, or ‘nukes,’ who are responsible for keeping naval submarines and aircraft carriers running. 

    Mazzotta always considered himself to be academically driven, and he recognized the work ethic he had cultivated through rowing would prove valuable. 

    “Rowing is one of the big reasons why I joined the Navy,” said Mazzotta. “It’s difficult having practice six days a week and sometimes twice a day. Due to the amount of physical fitness involved and how in shape we have to be, I knew that whatever I chose to do in the Navy, I would be ready for the challenge.”

    With this determined mindset, Mazzotta decided to enlist in 2012. After completing recruit training, he spent a year and a half at the Nuclear Power Training Command. Here, Mazzotta learned the science and engineering behind the design, operation, and maintenance of naval nuclear propulsion plants. 

    The training he received prepared Mazzotta for his first command aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in 2014. Despite the long hours working on the ship, Mazzotta proudly describes the responsibilities he was entrusted with.

    “I remember sitting in front of this nuclear reactor at two in the morning with no one else in the room,” said Mazzotta. “That was me that was able to do that.” 

    Mazzotta attributes his committed attitude to the teachings of his former college rowing coach, Shawn Pistor. After every practice, his coach required each rower to slap a sign posted at their boathouse before departing. The sign stated, “Those who stay will be champions.” This beloved message became a motivating force for the team and a constant reminder to Mazzotta of the power and value in perseverance.

    “As long as you try and put forth an honest effort, then you will succeed, and that is definitely what I have seen in rowing and in the Navy,” said Mazzotta. “It takes a great deal of time to dedicate yourself to the nuclear power program. I was always the first one on the ship and the last one to leave every time we went underway.”

    Even while at sea, Mazzotta remained devoted to rowing. He recalls taking advantage of two rowing machines offered at the Truman’s Seaside Gym, a small workout room located on a weather deck on the ship’s starboard side. “I remember the first time being out there, I took a picture and sent it to all my rowing friends,” said Mazzotta. 

    It was only natural that once completing his tour aboard the Truman, Mazzotta would choose to become a recruiter, an opportunity he said affords him time to devote to his wife, Cortlandt, and rowing. 

    Before receiving orders to NTAG Nashville, Mazzotta did some research. “My wife and I looked at a map and saw the Nashville region was open,” said Mazzotta. “I had been to Tennessee about ten times for rowing competitions and I really liked the environment here.”

    Upon arrival to his new command in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Mazzotta was fortunate to discover Percy Priest Lake. It is here that he rows in the early dawn hours before recruiting future Sailors. Mazzotta is also a member of the Nashville Rowing Club where he competes with his team in a series of races during the summer and fall. His membership has brought lasting friendships with his team members and an appreciation for the journey the Navy has taken him on.

    “There’s some guys my age that I row with and there’s also some people that I row with from my parent’s generation, many of whom are former veterans,” said Mazzotta. “It gives me hope that one day when I’m sixty-plus years old, I’ll still be able to get out on the water and do what I love.” 

    NTAG Nashville is one of nine NTAGs nationwide. More than 100,000 square miles are assigned to NTAG Nashville including counties in Tennessee, Arkansas, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, northern Mississippi, southern Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia. The command consists of two Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOC) Music City and Blues City, and 36 Navy Talent Acquisition Sites.

    Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 17 Navy Recruiting Districts and nine Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,300 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

    For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (, Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).



    Date Taken: 08.12.2019
    Date Posted: 08.12.2019 12:22
    Story ID: 335529
    Location: NASHVILLE , TN, US 
    Hometown: ORLANDO, FL, US

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