Rear Admiral Couture is a native of Vineland, New Jersey. She commissioned through the NROTC program at the George Washington University in 1995 and she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. She holds a Master’s degree in International Studies from Old Dominion University, and she completed her Joint Professional Military Education as a student of the U.S. Naval War College and the Joint Forces Staff College.
At sea, Couture served onboard USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Saipan (LHA 2) USS Elrod (FFG 55), USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and USS Porter (DDG 78). She commanded USS Kauffman (FFG 59) and Destroyer Squadron 28 where she deployed twice as the Sea Combat Commander with Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. She has deployed in support of Operations Joint Endeavor, Active Endeavor, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve.
Ashore, Couture served as Current Surface Operations Officer for the Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Flag Secretary to the Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic; Contingency Plans Officer, U.S. Joint Forces Command; and, Assistant Chief of Staff for Manning, Manpower, and Personnel (N1) for the Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic. Couture also served as a Federal Executive Fellow at the Center for a New American Security and as Special Assistant for Legislative Matters to the Chief of Naval Personnel.
Her most recent assignment prior to Naval Service Training Command was as the Director for the Commander’s Action Group, for the Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
She has earned numerous personal awards including the Legion of Merit
(second award) as well as various other personal, unit, and service awards.
She assumed command of NSTC on May 27, 2021.
Donovan Phillips is a native of North Royalton, Ohio. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering Management from the US Military Academy, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Mathematics from the Naval Postgraduate School. He was commissioned as a United States Army second lieutenant from West Point.
While on active duty in the Army, He served tours in Japan, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan, along with stateside duty at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, West Point, New York, and Monterey, California.
His staff and joint assignments include Chief of Staff, US Forces Japan; Director, Joint Operations Center, NATO Joint Forces Command Brunssum, Netherlands; Director of Operations, NATO Training Mission Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan; Director, Strategic Planning and Transformation, U. S. Military Entrance Processing Command; and Advisor, National Military Academy Afghanistan. Additionally, he twice served as an Assistant Professor at the U. S. Military Academy.
He has served four combat tours in support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Restore Hope, and Enduring Freedom (twice). He left active Army service in June 2019 and entered the federal civil service in December of that year.
Donovan’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (w/oak leaf cluster), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and various unit and service awards. He is a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advanced courses and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Captain Kertreck V. Brooks is a native of Mt. Pleasant, TX and he graduated from Saint Louis University with a B.S. in Aeronautics and as the recipient of the distinguished Oliver L. Parks award for outstanding leadership, academic achievement, and service. He earned a M.S. in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He was commissioned as a Navy Officer upon completion of Officer Candidate School in December 1995 and was designated a Naval Flight Officer upon completion of Joint Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training in May 1997. He was designated a Navy Human Resources Officer in May 2008.
His operational tours includes duty with the “Ironmen” of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Three (VQ-3) as a Naval Flight Officer onboard the E-6B (Mercury) where he qualified as a Navigator, Airborne Communications Officer, and Mission Commander; USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) as a Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer; and USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74) as the Training Officer.
Ashore, he served two tours of duty at the 562nd Flying Training Squadron as an Instructor Navigator where he trained Navy, Air Force, and International Student Navigators. He also served as the Assistant Director of Operations and was recognized as the squadron’s Company Grade Officer of the Year in 2001 and Flight Commander of the Year in 2002. During his second instructor tour, he served as a staff instructor at the squadron’s Instructor Training School and was recognized as an “Exceptionally Qualified” Instructor. He completed an individual augmentee assignment as the Assistant Officer in Charge of the Manpower and Personnel (N1) Individual Augmentation Cell at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in 2006. He served as a Division Chief in the Manpower and Personnel Directorate (J1) at U. S. Transportation Command from June 2010 to January 2013 and he was also dual hatted as Executive Officer of the Navy Element. He served as Executive Officer of Recruit Training Command, the Navy’s only boot camp, from February 2013 to June 2015. At Navy Personnel Command, he served as Deputy Director of the Distribution Management Division (PERS-45) from July 2015 to February 2017. Captain Brooks served as the 19th Commanding Officer of the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center in Pensacola, FL from March 2017 to October 2019. Following major command, he served as a Navy Fellow in the Global Talent Organization at LinkedIn’s San Francisco office from November 2019 to July 2020. CAPT Brooks reported to Naval Service Training Command in September 2020 and served as the Director of Operations until taking over as Chief of Staff in April 2021.
Captain Brooks logged over 2,600 flight hours as a Naval Flight Officer in the T-34C, T-43A, E-6A, and E-6B. He is a certified Professional in Human Resources and a Joint Qualified Officer. His professional military education includes the Aviation Safety Officer course, Air Command and Staff College, and Joint Forces Staff College. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Air Force Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and various unit and service awards.
Command Master Chief Rick Mengel enlisted in the Navy on 17 November, 1993 and received basic training at Recruit Training Command Orlando, FL.
His first sea tour was aboard USS Camden (AOE 2), PSNS Bremerton, WA, where he served as an Undesignated Seaman and later a Signalman 3rd Class. In February 1998, he cross-rated to Aviation Structural Mechanic and reported to the EA-6B Fleet Replacement Squadron, home of the Vikings of VAQ 129, NAS Whidbey Island, WA.
Subsequent sea tours were served twice with the Zappers of VAQ 130, NAS Whidbey Island, WA, where he qualified as an Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist while deployed aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).
He reported to Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, IL in April, 2006 where he served as a Recruit Division Commander and RDC "C” School Instructor and qualified as a Master Training Specialist.
Master Chief Mengel was selected for the Command Senior Chief program in February, 2011 and served with Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Crew Persistent in that capacity aboard six different MCM hulls. Subsequent command tours include Command Master Chief for USS Shoup (DDG 86), Navy Recruiting District Seattle, and USS Nimitz (CVN 68). He is currently the Command Master Chief for Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), Great Lakes, IL.
He is a graduate of the Naval Senior Enlisted Academy, class 147 (Gold Group) and the Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat class 10701.
His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (five awards), Good Conduct Medal (eight awards) and various unit awards.
Ms. Laura Chandler (Linder) has been married to Chief Mass Communication Specialist Byron Linder since 2019. Originally from Omaha, as a military family they’ve been stationed in Omaha, Virginia Beach, and Great Lakes. As a military spouse who has moved cross-country and her husband suddenly deployed for seven months with ten days' notice, she understands the obstacles and challenges military families can face. She enjoys helping others and hopes to be a friendly link to the many services and programs available for military families.
Most command leaders agree: an effective ombudsman can be a priceless asset. Ombudsmen play a key role in linking commands and families to ensure accurate, timely communication.
The Great Lakes Naval Station Fleet Family Support Center (FFSC) provides training, consultation, and support to command-appointed ombudsmen.
The Navy Family Ombudsman is vital to the welfare of the command's families, and in this unique role, as an officially appointed volunteer, the duties are wide-ranging. The Ombudsman has been trained to know when to provide information, when to be a referral source and how to be receptive to family members when they call.
Ombudsmen serve as the primary communications link between the families and the command, and the channel of official information from the command to the families.
They disseminate timely and critical information, regularly, through newsletters, care-line/info-lines, telephone trees, and e-mail.
The command ombudsman supplies information about and referrals to military and civilian support organizations like, Fleet and Family Support Centers, American Red Cross, Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, Chaplains, medical facilities, and legal assistance offices. These organizations are valuable resources in obtaining assistance for command family members.
They provide support to family members seeking professional assistance and refer them for counseling. Ombudsmen, in their official role, are not counselors or social workers.
Ombudsmen act as an advocate for the command families, using knowledge of the system, can help access the appropriate level of the chain of command for intervention and forward suitable requests or grievances while exercising confidentiality.
And they support command-sponsored groups and activities and advertise support group activities, as permitted by the command.
For more information on the Ombudsman program visit:
For more information about NSTC, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/NSTC.