Six years ago when producer Stephanie Drachkovitch began pitching the idea for a show that followed the lives of real-life soldiers' wives, the U.S. Army was understandably wary. "The feeling was the families have enough stress," says Lt. Col. Steven Cole, an Army public affairs liaison based in Los Angeles. "There was a general reluctance to have our Army families be the object of entertainment."
But Drachkovitch didn't give up, and last spring, the Army decided the timing was right. "It struck me that the stories of the families were just so invisible during this war," she says. "And yet there are thousands of them who are basically heroes on the other side of the battlefield. We've been at war 10 years as of last spring, and while the war in Iraq [has wound] down, we're still in Afghanistan. The Army felt it was important, now more than ever, to keep the stories of its families and soldiers in front of the American public."
The result is Married to the Army: Alaska, which debuted November 18 on OWN. Drachkovitch and her team at 44 Blue Productions were given unprecedented access to the highs and lows experienced by families stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. "The way all the services look at it, they are the people's military," Drachkovitch says. "So their job is to get those stories out there and to tell us, the citizens, what our Army is doing."