“I did not think I would be good at public speaking,” said Spc. Christee Major, a financial management technician and “Voice of the Marne” for the 3rd Infantry Division. “I was always so worried I was going to mess up, and that’s my worst fear, but over time, it has been wonderful. I love it, I get told this is something I need to pursue outside the military, so we will see.”
The “Voice of the Marne” is a person who narrates for ceremonies and Major has been 3rd ID’s voice for little over a year now.
“I became Voice of the Marne by luck, honestly,” said Major. “My first sergeant put me up for it. They were looking for a Voice of the Marne. I had an interview with the battalion command sergeant major, the brigade CSM, chief of protocol and the division CSM. Three of us were selected. I was chosen to be the primary.”
According to Jessica Rodriguez, chief of protocol for Fort Stewart, Major has been wonderful to work with and she is reliable, trustworthy, creative and overall, a role model for others to emulate: qualities their office requires.
“She goes above and beyond,” said Rodriguez. “She’s a perfectionist and she’s always willing to give a helping hand. Before she leaves for the day [she asks], ‘Does anybody need anything from me?’ She will stay here and give any assistance whenever she can.”
Training two Soldiers for the next Voice of the Marne, Major aspires for others to put their all into their work and be consistent with it.
“I like to think I’m a team player,” said Major. “So, that’s why I’m the one who is training the other two after me, so they can at least be a little bit like me and know this is what is expected of you.”
Public speaking isn’t without its bustling moments, but Major sees it as the opportunity in continuing her job as a protocol member in taking care of anything that happens.
“It can be hectic sometimes,” said Major. “We are protocol, so as well as being a Voice of the Marne, we do take care of every event that takes place.”
When asked if she wants to continue in similar roles as the Voice of the Marne during or after her Army career, Major enthusiastically shared one of her hopes.
“I believe so,” said Major. “I did not know this was [a] thing, but now that I do, it is something I would like to pursue, possibly being the narrator for the Old Guard. I think it’s so rewarding.”
Taking on the responsibility of Voice of the Marne brings memorable and rewarding moments.
“When people have come up to me after a ceremony to thank me for making it a special day for them, it’s honestly the greatest thing I could hear,” said Major. “That’s all I ever want to do. I want to make their day special. It’s not about me, it’s about them, and I want to do the best I can do so it is something they can remember, whether a change of command, retirement ceremony [or] their farewell. I want it to be everything they’ve imagined and more, and so, I try to give that to them.”
“I have the mindset that you can overcome anything,” said Major. “I was extremely nervous in the beginning, [and] prior to every ceremony, I would have awful butterflies – this awful fear that I would get tongue-twisted, or I would mispronounce a word with everyone listening. But over time, I’ve had to let go of the idea- I’m not perfect. Mistakes do happen. Just continue going.”
With the impact being Voice of the Marne has had, Major shared thoughtful reflection.
“It has given me a new idea on things I can pursue later on,” said Major. “It’s really given me so much to think about as far as what path I would like to take, whether it be a narrator for the Old Guard, whether it be trying to reclass into public affairs – something that if I have a talent, other people see. Maybe there’s something that is worth looking into.”
According to Rodriguez, Major takes pride in what she does, and knows that every event and ceremony has meaning and she wants to ensure she helps support that lasting impression that individuals will remember.
“She’s grown to be a true professional,” said Rodriguez. “It definitely takes courage to get up in front and narrate a ceremony in front of hundreds of people and she does it so seamlessly. She definitely has grown from when she first came here, which was shortly after basic training, [and she’s] gained leadership skills and tools that I know she’s going to use for the rest of her time, throughout her Army career.”
Throughout her career, Major has managed to create and establish connections with people who see the effort and quality put into narrating ceremonies.
“I have made a lot of connections which is good because I have tried my best and I have tried to make it special,” said Major. “I have made those connections with people who know my name. People who I pass by [say] ‘Hey, there’s the Voice of the Marne.’”