This week, National geographic will wait the first episode of The lengthy Road Home. The miniseries is a scripted retelling of the beginning of the U.S. Army’s fight in the Siege that Sadr City the April 2004. What began with one uprising against the U.S. Occupation forces in the Shia ar of the capital led come a long protracted siege extending years.

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The long Road Home is the story of an ambushed army escort convoy from second Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. It’s based upon the true story of a platoon compelled to hole up in a civilian home and also await rescue. V eight American soldiers lost in the initial fighting in the Baghdad neighborhood, the battle came to be known as “Black Sunday.”

Adapted from alphabet News correspondent Martha Raddatz’ publication of the very same name, the show meticulously created what could be the many accurate army story in movie or television.

1. The show’s armed forces advisors were in Sadr City the day.

Any military show or movie v an attention in authenticity is walking to have veteran technical advisors ~ above hand come tell the director once things space wrong. But in The long Road Home, you can expect more than infantry badges and rank to it is in in the appropriate place. You can expect the people and vehicles to be in Sadr City in the right areas too.

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The actors and also 2-5 Cav vets indigenous The long Road residence talked to We room The Mighty about their experience making the show. (National Geographic)

Showrunner Mikko Alanne hired 2 veterans from black color Sunday – Eric Bourquin and Aaron Fowler – to be the show’s military advisors. If one of the actors required to know exactly how to wear a patrol cap, the 2 veterans might show him. Yet unlike most shows, if the director required a minute-by-minute breakdown, he can ask the males who were there.

“Personally, I like it,” claims Fowler. “Because I’m a retirement Sergeant first Class, for this reason I have the anal-retentive component down. I’ve acquired lots of notebooks, and also I have access to every the guys. If among the actors had actually a question, I can get mine phone and also hand lock the human that walk the action they had questions about.”

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Jeremy Sisto as Sgt. Robert Miltenberger in The long Road Home. (National Geographic)

“Eric remained in the platoon the was pinned under on the roof and also Aaron was amongst the rescuers,” states Alanne.

“I’m really proud to be a part of what happened and also how it’s been handled. I’ve struggled with having actually to open up up, because having such a large spotlight actors on a quite intense part of my life,” claims Bourquin. “I learned points I didn’t understand transpired. Because the whole time, ns was grounding on the roof for four hours. Human being were out there trying come come in, to acquire us, therefore I’d to be exposed to a many things that ns wasn’t mindful of and that was healing too. This is honoring them. Now everybody’s gonna constantly know your story. Through that being said, how might I not be involved?”

2. Raddatz’ interviewed everyone close come the fighting.

You don’t obtain to it is in the Chief an international Affairs Correspondent the a major network without being addicted come the facts. Martha Raddatz, that literally created the book on the occasions in Sadr City that day, was working for abc News in Baghdad in ~ the time when she heard around what happened. She ended up talk to anyone from 2-5 Cav the was still in country.

“This story involved me,” she says. “I was spanning politics and also policy when a general told me around this battle. I had to go talk to this guys. We did pieces for alphabet News, for Nightline… i was just so stricken by them. Ns come indigenous a foreign affairs background and I check out presidents make policy and also then i went over and also saw the results of that policy.”

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Raddatz is still covering military operations in the CENTCOM area together of 2016.

She was introduced to the households through the soldiers who fought there that day.

“It will be through me forever,” Raddatz says. “It felt favor they can all it is in my neighbors. Someday they’re every in minivans v their kids, and also in three days they’re in the center of a battle. These aren’t a bunch of action figures, these room real person beings.”

3. Mike Medavoy is an executive producer.

If the name of a movie producer doesn’t wake up you, that’s fine. An executive producer’s name likely doesn’t bring a the majority of weight with most of America.

In the case of The long Road Home, however, the enhancement of Medavoy put the miniseries in the hands of a male who assisted make the legendary war movies Apocalypse Now, Platoon, and also The thin Red Line (not to cite non-military movies Rocky, Raging Bull, and Terminator 2).

4. The long Road Home’s depiction of army families is heartfelt and real.

When the actors arrived at ft Hood and also met the families of 2-5 Cav, they gained just a taste that what life in a military family members is like.

“I took away an incredible feeling of community,” states actress Katie Paxton, who plays Amber Aguero, wife to Lt. Shane Aguero. “You feeling that community from the soldiers. Once you’re in war extending your sector, you’re spanning the guy to her left. You’re covering the male to her right. And also those men are her family. I never really interpreted that until I speak to soldiers.”

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A quiet from the opening episode of The long Road Home. (National Geographic)

“I flourished up in the city as a city kid, and also this completely dispelled all of my concepts of what the soldier was actually like,” says actor Ian Quinlan, that plays Spc. Robert Arsiaga. “There was a very far-reaching through line in between these soldiers – a most these males joined after 9/11. It go out me away due to the fact that as a new Yorker i didn’t know anyone in my instant vicinity in brand-new York that would ever think of that.”

“Hearing your stories, you simply feel the goosebumps,” claims Karina Ortiz, who plays among the yellow Star Wives. “The soldiers leave and also everything is fine in ~ first, but then civilization start hearing things. Rumors. The waiting. The no knowing. Ns would acquire teary-eyed and just feel their pain. Or I’d feel their fear.”

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Jason Ritter portrays Capt. Troy Denomy v Kate Bosworth together Gina Denomy on the set of The long Road house at ft Hood, Texas. (Photo: national Geographic/Van Redin)

The experience of recreating the occasions of April 2004 also had an result on its veterans.

“One the the gold Star Wives came as much as me after the fort Hood premiere and also told me thank you,” Eric Bourquin says. “I don’t recognize why. Her husband died trying come come rescue us guys that to be stuck top top the roof. Yet the an ext I thought around it i realized everyone watching is going to see what the families and everyone involved goes through when shit happens.”

5. The showrunner’s lift is in documentary.

“I was very cognizant native the beginning that actual life human being were walk to be watching this,” says Mikko Alanne. “It was my expect that us would have the ability to use everyone’s real name, and also so Martha and I worked an extremely closely on reaching out to every the families.”

The two were an extremely successful. The display originally premiered in ft Hood’s Abrams Gym. After the show’s Los Angeles premiere, the veterans and Gold Star households took the phase with your TV counterparts, come a was standing ovation native an upstream Hollywood audience. Yet the realism didn’t prevent with cooperation.

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A quiet from The lengthy Road Home. Sadr City to be meticulously recreated on fort Hood for these scenes. (National Geographic)

“So plenty of of the family members sent united state their photographs, really photographs supplied as props, or photographs the their houses for united state to recreate,” Alanne says. “And the was an extremely important come me the cast reached the end to their real-life counterparts. Bonds to be formed in between the actors and also the genuine life families, and everyone came to be infused v the exact same mission that Martha really started; that these families and these experiences would certainly not be lost to history.”

6. The ft Hood scenes space really ft Hood.

When friend see ft Hood, Tex. Shown on screen, you can be certain that’s what fort Hood yes, really looks like. The show was shot entirely at fort Hood. The actors even resided in base housing. An ext important 보다 that, however, is the specific recreation that Sadr City developed on fort Hood the took the veterans ~ above the base back to April 2004.

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“The smell was the just thing the wasn’t specifically recreated,” says Fowler. “We veterans and Gold Star family members got come walk earlier to the highways of Sadr City that we would never get to go. It was an extremely healing experience. Exposure therapy plain and also simple.”

Eric Bourquin agrees.

“Being able to travel back to your battlespace without fear of being captured and also ending up in a YouTube video clip is a gift the can’t it is in put right into words,” he says. “Just choose the men that go ago and visit France, or Korea, or Vietnam — it’s come to be a reality.”

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A candid from behind the scene of The long Road residence on fort Hood. (National Geographic)