On Friday, October 13th, the soldiers of Alpha Troop gathered together in the tiny National Guard armory in Puyallup, Wash. to witness the first ever cavalry-qualified female take command of a troop in the Army.
Capt. Samantha Domingue took command of A Troop, 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment (1-303rd CAV), 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).
“The squadron is already leading with a female platoon leader in Bravo Troop,” said Lt. Col. Chris Blanco, commander, 1-303rd CAV. “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.”
Domingue said that she is honored to have been considered for the position and that she doesn’t take the task lightly.
“I am new to the Armor community, so to be considered for a troop command is a privilege.” Domingue said.
Domingue’s assumption of command marks a new milestone for the Army and National Guard as the military continues to integrate women into combat roles previously only held by their male counterparts.
Domingue comes to “Assassin” Troop in the midst of a major transformation and reorganization within the Washington National Guard. The reorganization of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team removed the 1-303rd, placing the command and control of the historic unit between 96th Troop Command, Washington National Guard and the 41st IBCT, headquartered in Oregon.
“It’s going to be a long and challenging year ahead,” Domingue said after her ceremony. “But we’ve got the right soldiers, so I have the faith that we can overcome any challenge.”
The squadron is currently preparing for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) rotation at Fort Hunter Ligett and Camp Roberts in California. XCTC is a brigade field training exercise designed to certify platoon proficiency in coordination with First Army.
Despite the high operational tempo for A Troop, Blanco says that he has no doubt that she is the right person to lead the unit through this demanding exercise and the ensuing years.
“You look across the formation and you try to recognize talent,” Blanco said. “She is the right fit for the right time.”
Domingue hopes that her assumption of command inspires other officers to pursue leadership opportunities outside of their respective career paths.
“Cross pollination of talent and knowledge is necessary for the betterment of the organization. If there are officers or soldiers on the fence about [changing career paths], I hope my command motivates them to pursue those positions.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Rikstad, squadron command sergeant major, added that the squadron has always led from the front.
“Capt. Domingue is both physically and mentally tough and will provide Alpha Troop a diversity of talent, temperament and expertise.”
Domingue is a graduate of the Army Reconnaissance Course, Cavalry Leader’s Course and Maneuver Captains Career Course.