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Airman 1st Class Krystal Williams holds the handheld radio of “the giant voice” at RAF Mildenhall’s command post. The public address system can make Williams as easy to understand as Ozzy shouting through a bullhorn.

Airman 1st Class Krystal Williams holds the handheld radio of “the giant voice” at RAF Mildenhall’s command post. The public address system can make Williams as easy to understand as Ozzy shouting through a bullhorn. (Ben Murray / S&S)

When making an announcement over the public address system at RAF Mildenhall, Airman 1st Class Krystal Williams sounds a little like God calling out bingo numbers. A booming, reverberating presence — but less decipherable than Ozzy shouting through a bullhorn — the 20-year-old member of the 100th Air Refueling Wing’s command post is the woman behind the system simply referred to as “the giant voice.”

Honestly, are you saying anything in English over that thing?

We actually hear that a lot. They have gone through a lot of procedures to update the giant voice. They’ve tried to tweak it the best they can, and it’s actually come a long way from what it used to be. … You have to speak very slow, like, one word every five seconds.

Tell me about that. What’s the cadence?

We just kind of [say], you know, ‘This … is … the … command … post.’ So you say the word, give it time to echo, say another word, give it time.

Does that make you feel slightly foolish when you’re in there?

Yeah, it does, because you’re standing there saying two sentences that it takes 15 minutes to say.

Would you be averse to your voice being called “omniscient” or “godlike”?

Yeah, I guess it is. We have heard it described like that.

Have you heard your own voice recorded over loudspeakers?

No, we don’t have our voices recorded per se; it’s just when we’re talking. … When I was deployed though, I did hear myself outside, which is kind of awkward because you’re hearing yourself talk outside and trying to talk at the same time.

What did you think hearing your own voice? What did it sound like to you?

It does sound godly. It does sound different because I’m sure a lot of people haven’t heard their own voices being projected over the whole base like that. It’s fun, I enjoy it.

Do you get nervous?

I do, I get really nervous sometimes.

How about this: Do you do any warmups?

Ahh, not really. We just talk into it.

Have you ever heard of Michael Buffer?

That doesn’t sound familiar

The guy who says, “Let’s get ready to rumble”?

Ah, OK. [Nervous laughter.]


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