Fort Hood, TX – Staff Sgt. Zhakira Moton, noncommissioned officer in charge of administrative law, 1st Cavalry Division, was awarded the Sergeant Eric L. Coggins Award of Excellence at a ceremony held at the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, VA, March 24.
“I am truly humbled and grateful to have been selected as the 24th recipient of the Sergeant Coggins Award of Excellence,” Zhakira said during her award speech. “To the former recipients, I am very honored to join your ranks, and I hope to make you all proud.”
Due to her continuous effort and dedication to the JAG Corps as a paralegal specialist, Zhakira has been nominated three times for the award in the past. Not only is she being recognized for her outstanding efforts as a paralegal Trooper, but also for her constant drive to be a top performing Trooper who goes above and beyond what is asked of her.
“Staff Sgt. Moton’s character, courage, and resilience make her an outstanding paralegal Soldier and leader.” Sgt. Maj. Charlene M. Crisp, staff judge advocate NCOIC, 1st Cavalry Division, said. “She is committed to the mission and her teammates and brings her best each and every day.”
Zhakira is an important member of the “First Team” and contributes heavily to the SJA's mission to advise the commanding general and his staff.
“I’m just really proud of her, and I look forward to all the great things she’ll do in the Army,” Col. Shari Shugart, officer in charge, SJA,1st Cavalry Division, said. “This award is not just a demonstration of her past performance, but her potential in the JAG Corps and the Army.”
The Judge Advocate General established the annual Sergeant Eric L. Coggins Award for Excellence to recognize U.S. Army active duty, reserve, and national guard paralegal soldiers in the grade of specialist through staff sergeant. The selected Soldier embodies the spirit of Sergeant Eric L. Coggins, continually displays the seven Army Values and four JAG Corps Constants: principled counsel, stewardship, mastery of the law, and servant leadership, while demonstrating both exceptional Soldier and paralegal skills.
Coggins was a paralegal specialist who served at Camp Stanley, Korea legal office as the NCOIC while only being a specialist at the time and later served in Kuwait as the NCOIC of the Camp Doha legal office. Shortly after his liver cancer diagnosis, he continued to serve admirably before unfortunately passing away from the disease. The award was established shortly afterward.
“I tell myself every day to make sure that I have a seat at the table,” Zhakira said while speaking about being a woman in the military. “Some people will test you because they think just because you’re a female that you don’t know what you’re talking about, so I’m going to keep on proving these people wrong.”
Staff Sgt. Zhakira Moton stands out as an example of how female Troopers of the "First Team" help shape the 1st Cavalry Division, the premiere fighting force of the United States Army.