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Voice of the range: Minnesota Marine gains confidence

By Lance Cpl. Bernadette Wildes | III Marine Expeditionary Force | June 13, 2017

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In the early morning light, a silhouette ascends the white cinder-block tower's short staircase, briefly pausing at the top to jingle open the structure's single hatch. Moments later, a voice echoes across the quiet range.

“Good morning shooters, face up range and listen for your range safety brief,” said Sgt. Krista Marshik, the voice of the tower for the Combat Pistol Program.

“The tower” is the command center of the range, where range staff members enforce safety procedures, monitor shooters and issue commands. The tower is a fixture on every Marine Corps rifle and pistol range to ensure safety is the priority. Marshik, from Arden Hills, Minnesota, as the main voice on the microphone, gives commands with confidence and ease, but it wasn’t always that way.

“I’ve been [the voice] for so long that I know the flow of the range,” said Marshik, an ammunition technician with Formal Marksmanship Training Unit, Headquarters and Service Company, III MEF Headquarters Group. “I know how it’s supposed to be ran.”

Marshik said manning the tower as a corporal helped her become the confident Marine sergeant she is today.

“The previous sergeant knew I was shy, and he wanted to break me out of my shell. He was getting ready to leave Okinawa, so he decided to make me the tower [to] help me gain confidence,” Marshik said.

Marshik said she was nervous at first — everything was chaotic as she learned to manage ranges. Now, she has been the voice of the tower for almost two years. Marshik said some days are long and repetitive, but doesn’t mind the work.

“I feel accomplished at the end of the week, knowing that we successfully trained up to 300 officers and staff noncommissioned officers, but I never let it get to my head,” Marshik said. “It’s just another day on the range.”

After the final “pop” of the last shot fades, Marshik delivers a final ‘CEEEEEEAAAAAASE FIRE, CEASE FIRE, unload, show clear,’ ending another day of fundamental marksmanship training, scented by gunpowder and narrated by the voice of the tower.


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