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Exploring the Olympia Armory

Home of the National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 146th FA

Olympia Armory serves as an event center in downtown Olympia. Courtesy photo

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Did you know that the Washington Army National Guard has an armory in downtown Olympia? Even if you did, do you know what they do?

On a day-to-day basis, the building serves as the headquarters of the 2d Battalion, 146 Field Artillery Regiment, which is part of the 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team in the Washington Army National Guard. The 146 FA Regiment supports the mission of the 81st ABCT by providing them with indirect fires, specifically with 155-millimeter self-propelled howitzers. They also provide transportation, mechanic support and field sustainment to the brigade.

"We run the gamut of military specialties," explained Major Matthew Braddock, the battalion executive officer who also manages the administrative staff throughout the week.

That includes elements of A Battery, Headquarters Battery, and the battalion staff who work in the building on a full-time. There is also a Family Assistance Coordinator who services citizen soldiers' and airmen's families throughout the region on a full-time basis.

That region reaches from Olympia to Walla Walla and continues all the way down to Longview and Vancouver, encompassing the majority of the southern part of the state.  

Braddock and his soldiers have acted as part of the rapid response force in southwest Washington for floods, fought forest fires in the region and been deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We are here to support the community and we are active members in it," said Braddock. "In true armory fashion, we are not set apart behind the gates but situated in the center of the city in order to provide a presence."

The Olympia Armory is also available for rental by organizations, groups or private individuals through the Washington State National Guard.

Most often that is at night during the week and on weekends, however, weekends are sometimes more difficult to accommodate due to the fact that unit training takes precedence over armory rentals, which is clearly laid out ahead of time to all renters. For recurring events, the reservations are often scheduled out over a year in advance, but for a one-time event, Braddock recommends that reservations be made a few months prior.

The facility has a 281 sq. ft. kitchen area, a large gym/drill floor area spanning 10,734 sq. ft. and multiple classrooms ranging from 300 to 600 sq. ft. Parking is also available onsite.

"This a great resource and the facility is quite popular in the community," Braddock said. "For instance, local sports clubs use it often for tournaments and it is large enough to host dances, job fairs or graduations."

The Olympia Armory is located at 515 Eastside St. SE. To check availability and reserve the space call 360.704.6709.

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