Carroll County Times

Carroll County Commissioners’ President Ed Rothstein reflects on 31-year military career

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Carroll County Commissioners’ President Ed Rothstein is taking this Veterans Day weekend to reflect on his 31-year military career, while paying homage to those that have served the country in uniform.

Rothstein, 59, of Eldersburg, is a retired colonel and the former garrison commander at the Fort George G. Meade U.S. Army Installation in Anne Arundel County.

Fort Meade Garrison Commander Col. Edward Rothstein gives remarks. German, Italian and American representatives were on hand Sunday on Fort George G. Meade for a ceremony to honor the WWII German and Italian Prisoners of War that were buried at the post cemetery.

“I want to focus on what Veterans Day means,” Rothstein said this week. “I want to focus on what it should mean to our country, and what it should mean to our younger children. I want to thank the veterans community for giving us the rights we have. It’s who we are. We’re allowed to have our rights.”

Rothstein, a Republican who represents District 5 in Carroll County, was elected to a second term in office earlier this week. District 5 covers the southeastern portion of the county, including Eldersburg and Sykesville.


As president of the Board of Carroll County Commissioners, Rothstein presides over meetings with an easy manner and a quick sense of humor.

At times, he mentions his military service as a career intelligence officer, or gives a shout out to veterans and those still serving in the military.

Rothstein said serving in the U.S. Army ranks as one of the greatest honors of his life.

“I’ve had 30-plus years of service in uniform, and have had multiple leadership and staff positions,” he said.

Rothstein was born and raised in New Jersey.

“I lost the accent, but I kept the attitude,” he joked.

Rothstein said service is embedded in him. His mother was a nurse and his father was a high school biology teacher who also served in the Korean War.

Rothstein started his military career in 1983, when he enlisted in the Army Reserves. Three years later he earned a bachelor’s degree in special education at Lock Haven State University in Pennsylvania.


Rothstein went on to earn a master’s degree in human resources from Webster University in Missouri, and a master’s degree in national resource management from Eisenhower School for National Security, according to his county government biography.

In 1986, he was in active duty as a commissioned officer in the Chemical Corps.

This is Colonel Edward C. Rothstein, Garrison Commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort George G. Meade.

He first tour of duty was serving overseas in Germany, for the most part in military intelligence in the air defense artillery unit. In 1990, he transitioned to the military intelligence corps.

Rothstein then came back to the United States, and entered military school at Fort Ord in California. It was his first duty station.

“I served in the light infantry battalion, where I met my future wife, Audrey,” he said. “Our first date was on March 21, 1993.”

Rothstein left Fort Ord and began working in the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. He worked in strategic intelligence with the 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion. During that time, he married Audrey on Sept. 4, 1994, and they had their first child, Emily, in 1996.


In the following years, Rothstein was stationed at the Pentagon, working in information operations as a staff action officer. He also served on former President Bill Clinton’s inaugural committee.

Rothstein and his family eventually moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where he obtained additional schooling and where they welcomed their second child, Sam.

In 1999, the family of four moved to Germany, where Rothstein served for six years in the 302nd MI Battalion and V Corps in Heidelberg and Wiesbaden, and then in multiple staff positions for the European Command, Stuttgart.

“Over the next years, I was located in multiple locations, in leadership and staff positions, supporting operations in the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo,” Rothstein said. “We came back to Fort Carson in Colorado, where I worked (from 2005-2007) as a senior intelligence officer for the 7th Infantry Division.”

Rothstein also served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2007, the the family moved to Carroll County, and back to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, where Rothstein served as garrison commander until he retired in 2014.


While he was commander at Fort Meade, the nonprofit Fort Meade Alliance Foundation came to him with an interest in developing the Fort Meade Resiliency and Education Center.

“The goal of this center is to provide the fullest range of resiliency and education services to positively impact the lives of the military and civilian personnel who work and live on Fort Meade,” Doreen Harwood, president of the Fort Meade Alliance, said in a 2020 news release. “And while it will be a physical building, our goal is that each person who walks through the front door feels they are cared for and supported as a full member of our community.”

Work on the center began in summer 2020, following nine years of planning and a $3.6 million capital campaign.

On Thursday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held to mark the opening of the new center, which will offer services designed to touch the five pillars of resiliency — physical, emotional, social, family, and spiritual — to benefit community members.

The center will provide onsite classes, counseling and events to all those who live and work at Fort Meade, including active service members, their dependents and veterans.

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“It’s going to be a state-of-the-art center for veterans and their families,” Rothstein said. “It’s the first of its kind in the military. It has to do with their wellbeing, both physical and emotional, and their families. I’m ecstatic.”


While in command at Fort Meade, Rothstein became aware of multiple incidents of military personnel dealing with domestic abuse, violence, drugs and suicide. He is open about his own struggles with mental health that plagued him throughout most of his military career.

“I applaud Veterans Affairs for helping me identify the demons I had in myself,” he said. “I didn’t recognize it in myself, but my family did. I waited over 30 years in multiple deployments to get help. I kept everything inside.”

Rothstein said it’s important for young service members to have the confidence to get help with mental health issues. He hopes one day the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues is eliminated.

“They need to talk it out,” he said. “Today, I’m taking my medications, and I still have medical care. My family is so appreciative.”