Show is a first production based from a military installation
Master Sgt. Eric Reinhardt
U.S. Army Alaska Public Affairs
FORT RICHARDSON, Alaska — “Married to the Army: Alaska,” a documentary series focusing on the lives, struggles and sacrifices of military spouses stationed in the 49th state will premiere Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN.
The show began filming in Alaska in the fall of 2011 and documents the lives of seven Army spouses amid their husbands’ deployment to Afghanistan with the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
Stephanie Drachkovitch, executive producer of 44 Blue Productions, which created the show for OWN, said she feels a personal connection to its subject. The daughter of a career Army officer, Drachkovitch lived in Alaska, her mother’s home state, while her father served in Vietnam.
“My mother and father actually met while he was stationed up there in Alaska during his first assignment there,” she said. “Alaska is a beautiful area, and I just so happen to know a little bit about the kind of bonds people can make while living there, which is just one of the many reasons I think the show will resonate with viewers.”
The show is the first of its kind to be approved for production on a military installation, according to Lt. Col. John Clearwater, film and television liaison for the Army’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Los Angeles.
“There hasn’t been a program similar to this at any time previously within the Army,” Clearwater said. “This is an opportunity to show the nation just how much effort our military families contribute to the service of their Soldiers. It’s a commitment just as deep as (that of) any service member.”
The show’s producers interviewed more than 500 spouses before choosing the cast of seven.
Yolanda Goins, wife of 4-25th commander Col. Morris Goins, was not among those interviewed. Rather, Drachkovitch sought her out at the brigade’s deployment ceremony.
She said she was initially reluctant to participate, but changed her mind after learning more about the show’s intent.
“It was in the interview that I realized that I was fiercely proud of what my husband does, and I had a thought of all the sacrifices that the Soldiers, families and children make, and I realized that telling the spouse’s story would be a great thing to do,” Goins said. “We also serve our nation just as the Soldiers do, but on the other side of the battlefield.”
“Married to the Army: Alaska”
Series premieres on OWN (Oceanic Cable Channel 343), 8 p.m. (HST) Sunday, Nov. 18 and then will air in its regular timeslot on Mondays at 8 p.m. (HST). It will also air on the American Forces Network, beginning Nov. 25.