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(Enlarge) Col. Edward C. Rothstein, Garrison Commander

It's that time of the year when the Permanent Change of Station system really starts to crank up.

For anyone who ever donned a military uniform or if you are the spouse or a family member of a service member, then you know what I'm talking about when I say, "One of the rituals of military life is the PCS."

This month is particularly "moving" for me as I transition to life without two service members who have a great record of superb service and performance at Fort Meade and who have made my job as garrison commander much easier.

I'm talking about Headquarters Command Battalion Commander Lt. Col. (P) Edmund J. Barrett, who will be promoted to colonel Friday, and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Charles E. Smith. Both will be leaving Fort Meade at the end of the month for new assignments.

Barrett will soon deploy to Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan as a member of the J2 component of the Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan.

Command Sgt. Maj. Smith will take on the responsibility as the senior enlisted advisor for the Great Lakes Military Entrance Processing Station in Chicago.

It was only a year ago that Col. Barrett assumed command of Headquarters Command Battalion, coming to Fort Meade from the Pentagon where he served in the Office of the Inspector General. As commander of Headquarters Command Battalion, he has overseen the support services, law enforcement, military working dog teams, force protection and base support operations for the Fort Meade community.

These duties were only part of the service he provided to the Fort Meade community. Shortly after I became your garrison commander, I tapped Ed to serve as my primary military liaison with school administrators for the seven schools on post.

He has also done an exceptional job of ensuring every Soldier associated with Headquarters Command Battalion was well trained for his or her duty and in taking on additional responsibilities to support me in my role as garrison commander.

Over the past year you have rarely seen me at a garrison or off-post event without Command Sgt. Maj. Smith. That's because I've always believed that the commander and the command sergeant major should be connected at the hip.

Command Sgt. Maj. Smith assumed his duties a year ago this past May, moving to the garrison command building after serving as command sergeant major for Headquarters Command Battalion.

As the garrison's senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Smith has done an outstanding job of supporting the garrison and inspiring Soldiers and civilians not to just settle for the status quo. He personally took on the responsibility of making sure post beautification efforts were a priority, despite reduced resources.

He also never missed a day reminding me (and anyone else within hearing distance) that safety measures work best when leaders lead by example. Command Sgt. Maj. Smith exemplified that in everything he did.

Col. Barrett and Command Sgt. Maj. Smith are great role models of service members, Team Meade and personally, for me. Working together or on separate issues, they both have a firm understanding of the responsibility associated with taking care of service members, civilian workers and military families.

I thank them both for jobs well done. I'm sure you will agree with me that the Fort Meade community will miss their energy and inspiration and their commitment to duty and service.

I also want to thank everyone who played a role in Fort Meade's celebration of the Army's 237th birthday. We had a series of wonderful events last week, starting with the Francis Scott Key Chapter of the Association of the United States Army's annual birthday breakfast at Club Meade.

The celebration ended Friday evening with the Bowie Baysox hosting a celebration that included an enlistment swearing-in ceremony for a group of local men and women who will become future Soldiers.

I also participated in a first-time, cake-cutting ceremony at The Mall in Columbia with Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

In two weeks we'll celebrate the post's annual Fourth of July observance with fireworks and a host of festivities on the parade field.

Have a great week!

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