Look for familiar faces during this year’s taping of Army Wives as military members, Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) associates and their families who live near military installations in S.C. are hired as extras on Lifetime drama.
With one season under its belt, and with the addition of actress Katherine Bell, formerly of “JAG,” Lifetime Television’s “Army Wives,” is quickly gaining a following of dedicated fans. The show deals with the challenges of military life and the support found in the kinship of sharing those same challenges through the lives of Army wives.
Last year, the show itself was faced with many challenges trying to depict the lives of Army families in a military environment without filming one scene on a military installation. But all of that has changed now that DoD, and AAFES, have given permission for the show to shoot some scenes on an installation. Season two of “Army Wives” premieres Sunday, June 8 at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The very first on-base scene was shot at the Charleston AFB’s exchange. Military and family members from Charleston AFB and other military installations in South Carolina had their opportunity to participate in making the TV show more realistic. Many of them served as extras in a scene that took approximately eight hours to shoot for only 10 minutes of TV time for that particular episode. “Last year, we didn’t have the budget or the means to shoot a scene on military installations,” said Harry Bring, the show’s co-executive producer of the show. “Now that we have DoD’s approval, we have the opportunity to shoot on military installations, at the BX, commissary, movie theater, bowling alley, etc. and we are going to do it. AAFES, the commissary and bowling are such a part of the military life, and shooting it on a military installation brings realism to our show. We may not use Charleston AFB for all of the scenes, but you never know.”
Bell, meanwhile, said that she was excited to join the cast because it was such a departure from the character she played on JAG. “I picked a role 180 degrees different from my JAG character,” she said. “Denise Sherwood (her character on “Army Wives”) is dealing with abuse and not knowing how to stand up for herself. When I meet women who are military wives, I am moved by their strength.”
As for actress Kim Delaney, she plays Claudia Joy Holden, the wife of the post commander. “Claudia is the moral center of the show,” Delaney said. “She’s human and flawed like everyone else. If you look underneath she’s flawed. I don’t know how you all do it. The women we represent are unsung heroes at home. They hold everything together.”
Serving as extras, AAFES’ Eastern Area Manager, Paul Stenseth’s wife and daughters got their five minutes of fame. Pivotal to one scene in the BX, the fans didn’t have any problems being on set from 4:30 a.m. until filming concluded at 4:30 p.m. “I am a big fan of ‘Army Wives,’ and I’m excited I had the opportunity to not only meet the actors, but to be extras in a scene,” said Tess Stenseth, Paul’s wife. “It’s really interesting to see how a TV show is put together.”
About The Army & Air Force Exchange Service: AAFES is a joint command of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, and is directed by a Board of Directors who is responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force through the Service Chiefs of Staff. AAFES has the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with articles of merchandise and services and of generating non-appropriated fund earnings as a supplemental source of funding for military Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs. To find out more about AAFES' history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.aafes.com.
Maj. Edwina Walton