On October 13, 2017, Capt. Samantha Domingue makes history while she is stationed at the Washington National Guard Armory in Puyallup. By taking charge of A Troop, 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment -- dubbed "Assassin Troop" -- Domingue becomes the first cavalry-qualified woman to command a troop in the U.S. Army.
The Puyallup Armory was home to National Guard units from the early 1950s until 2021, beginning with Battery B, 240th Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion. It later hosted artillery units and support functions for the 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry. By the 1990s, Troop E, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, 81st Infantry Brigade was at the facility, and then A (Alpha) Troop, 303rd Cavalry Regiment under the 96th Troop Command.
Located in a residential area of Puyallup adjacent to a school, the Armory consisted of two buildings: a vehicle storage building and the Armory, with a central drill floor and offices. Groundbreaking at the site was held on June 15, 1949 by the local Rotarians. The first building (later the storage building) was dedicated on September 13, 1950. By 1954 the site had permanent equipment, including guns and radar, and the armory was manned 24 hours a day.
Puyallup-based Guard members were put into Washington state service fighting wildfires, providing assistance after the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, and guarding the State Capitol in 2021. Their federal deployments included Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004-2005 and 2008-2009.
The Armory was an important part of the Puyallup community until 2021, when the site was sold to Puyallup Central Pierce Fire and Rescue and its units were reassigned to another armory in Western Washington. The Puyallup Armory hostged many local events and was the site of an evening community meals program for more than 27 years.
On October 13, 2017, Captain Samantha Domingue assumed command of A Troop, 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, part of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, at the Puyallup Armory, becoming the first cavalry-qualified woman to take command of a troop in the U.S. Army.
Domingue's appointment was widely applauded in the military community and beyond. Reported Seattle's KING-5 TV:
"Her appointment marks a milestone for the army and the military at large, which has in recent months made strides in integrating women into combat positions that were for centuries held exclusively by men. 'The squadron is already leading with a female platoon leader in Bravo Troop," Lt. Col. Chris Blanco, commander, 1-303rd CAV, said ... 'We have strong females in almost every formation. This was the next logical step to progress, not only for the squadron and where it's at but the Guard in general'" ("National Guard Captain Is First ...").
Domingue told reporters she hoped others would follow in her path. "Cross pollination of talent and knowledge is necessary for the betterment of the organization," she said. "If there are officers or soldiers on the fence about [changing career paths], I hope my command motivates them to pursue those positions" ("National Guard Captain Is First ...").
With Domingue in command, A Troop was federally deployed to Jordan in 2019. It was part of the state National Guard security for Washington state elections in 2020, and protected the Capitol Building in Olympia in 2021. A Troop is part of the 96th Troop Command at Camp Murray in Pierce County.