'Army Wives' Casts Real-Life Military Spouses as Extras for Season Finale
Lifetime's highest-rated series Army Wives has become such a hit with real-life military spouses that a number of them from Fort Bragg convinced the network to use them as extras on the drama series.

After several e-mails and phone calls, Veronica Kirby, wife of chief warrant officer Bryan Brady, and her group of friends headed to Charleston, South Carolina in order to take part in the filming of the show's season finale.  Kirby had been watching an episode of Army Wives when the idea to join the cast as an extra popped in her head.

“I saw the first episode and I thought, wouldn't it be cool if they had real Army wives being extras on the show?” Kirby said to the Fayetville Observer.

The series is based on Tanya Biank's book, Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives.  Fortunately for Kirby and her friends, Biank's husband was once part of the same unit in the 82nd Airborne Division as Kirby's spouse.  Kirby contacted Biank, a consultant on the show, and told the author what she wanted to do.

“I said, ‘That's an awesome idea. Let me see what I can do,'” Biank said.  “I asked the producers, and they loved the idea.  They wanted to get in touch with her that day.”

Kirby and a group of women from her Fort Bragg Family Readiness Group arrived on the set of Army Wives on the Fourth of July.

Among the other wives included in the filming were Sarah Watts, Sarah Hastings, Marie Lipford, Alaina Brady and Nicole Balkind.

Filming began at 6am and the women were on the set until 8pm.  Their scenes were shot in Hump Bar, one of the show's regular sets, and the women were made to sit in the front and center tables.
“We were told to bring an outfit like what we would pick up guys in,” Watts, who is married to Sgt. Thomas Dixon, told the Fayetville Observer.  “We said, ‘Um, we're married, so we're not working too hard on that aspect.'”

“They kept coming in and touching up our hair and makeup throughout the day,” Kirby said of their long day on the set.

In between filming, the women were given long breaks.  They noticed that some of the cast members were taking naps while the cameras were turned off.

“They'd say, ‘Hurry up and get changed,'” Hastings, wife Pfc. David Hastings, said.  “Then we'd wait for two hours.”

All of the women are avid followers of Army Wives, and they said that the cast and crew made them feel welcome and appreciated.  During lunch, Brian McNamara, who portrays Col. Michael Holden, paid a tribute to the women, telling of their sacrifices.

“Everyone applauded us,” Kirby said.  “It was a very tearful moment. This was the first time that anyone said ‘thank you' to me for supporting my soldier.”

The season finale of Army Wives will air on August 26.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Fayetville Observer
(Image Courtesy of PR news wire)