*When Yolanda Goins was approached to participate in OWN’s upcoming reality series “Married to the Army: Alaska,” the brigade commander’s wife and self-described Army brat’s initial thoughts were a resounding hell to the no.
“I didn’t want to do it. When they asked me to come to an interview, I did not want to do it,” she said. But, during the interview process for the show, the mom with a 20-year-old son at West Point was asked several questions that caused her to become cognizant of the role that Army wives play.
“And I thought it was important for us to get out there and tell our story of sisterhood and the sacrifices that are made by the children as well as the spouses and to just show the traditions of the Army and the selflessness of the wives because truly they are heroes on the other side of the battlefield,” she said.
Goins and six other wives are followed in “Married to the Army: Alaska,” which premieres Nov. 18 at 10 p.m. thanks to unprecedented permission from the Pentagon allowing deep access into their lives at Fort Richardson. Alaska is home to more than 10,000 deployed, active duty soldiers.
Yolanda, married to the Brigade Commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) 25th Infantry Division, serves as a mentor to the brigade’s spouses and civilians. When the show was in production, the unit was approximately half way through a ten-month deployment to Afghanistan.
On the base, Yolanda has organized several workshops, including one that she hosted titled “Should I Stay or Should I Go: 9 Reasons to Stay,” which encouraged the spouses to remain in Alaska during the deployment. Yolanda also organized the Spartan Mid- Tour Celebration to honor the spouses and children of the brigade for their service to the nation and to celebrate completing half of the deployment.
According to Yolanda, a key factor in getting through a husband’s long deployment is leaning on the shoulders of other Army wives who are going through the same experience.
“Definitely sisterhood, 100 percent,” Yolanda tells EURweb. “My husband is the brigade commander. So in that he is responsible for 3,500 soldiers and 1,500 civilians in Afghanistan, and I am the flip side of that. I am responsible for the spouses within the brigade, and so I am just thrilled about the show, and I’m so honored to tell our story. It has helped me to do some self discovery.”
Below, Yolanda gives heartbreaking examples of mentoring wives who have lost husbands in battle, and how sometimes, the losses are too much for even her to bear.
Watch the first five minutes of OWN’s “Married to the Army: Alaska” below. Then, tune in for the special, two-night premiere event beginning on Sunday, Nov. 18th at 10/9c and Monday, Nov. 19th at 10/9c.