“A mission-ready American Army is the best chance for peace,” Command Sgt. Major James “Jay” Coquat told those attending the 2017 Veterans Tribute Ceremony.

“We are committed and dedicated to building and maintaining an agile adaptive Army that can deter and defeat any aggressor,” Coquat told the standing room only crowd attending the tribute ceremony held at the Enterprise Farmers Market following the Veterans Day Parade held Nov. 9. “At the same time, we are also committed to taking care of our veterans.”

Coquat is the 1st Battalion, 212thAviation Regiment Command Sgt. Major. He was keynote speaker at the tribute ceremony that was hosted by the Enterprise Veterans Parade Committee.

“The United States has been at war for more than 16 years,” Coquat said. “We now have the largest population of young veterans since the Vietnam War.”

Coquat said the Army has approximately 182,000 soldiers serving in 140 countries. “The veteran population continues to grow with approximately 120,000 soldiers transitioning out of the Army each year,” Coquat said. “We owe it to these men and women to make sure they transition from military service with the skills and experience to find meaningful employment.

“Potential future soldiers observe how we take care of our veterans as they consider serving themselves and our ability to man the all-volunteer Army of the future depends partly on our support of today’s veterans,” Coquat said. “Every soldier is a soldier for life.

“Your Army needs your trust, support and confidence so that we are ready, manned, trained and equipped at all times to safeguard our nation’s security amid increasing and more complex global security threats,” Coquat said. “Our first commanding general, George Washington, said that to be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

“Soldiers live by the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage,” Coquat said. “They do not leave behind their values and skills when they take off their uniforms for the last time and transition to civilian life and that is evident in our community today.

“These men and women have the knowledge, skills and attributes to get just about any job done,” Coquat said. “They are some of the most talented, dedicated, capable professionals in the world and they often use the skills gained in the military to continue to serve in their communities.

“It is their loyalty to our country that has made us what we have been for more than two centuries: The land of the free, home of the brave and a beacon of hope in an increasingly complex world,” Coquat said. “Our service members represent the best our nation has to offer.

“Our service members are the heart, soul and spirit of the greatest nation on the planet,” he added. “As a nation we are blessed with the freedoms our veterans secured and preserved.”

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