Message from Fred Wellman, President

Amid the ever-changing, and sometimes overwhelming, news about COVID-19, safety for your and our employees is our top priority at ScoutComms. We are already a remote workplace so we've been practicing 'social distancing' for a while. This also means you won't see any changes in our ability to service your needs and support your mission in this difficult time where telling your story is more important than ever. We continue to welcome new clients in need of support for this crisis and your overall public relations and research needs.

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ScoutReport: Military Medical Staff Aid Civilian Doctors; Legislative Package for Student Veterans; A Look at the Craft Brewing Industry; And More…

ScoutReport – April 24, 2020

The ScoutReport is looking a little different again this week, as Fred remains in New York to serve as the Chief of Staff of the Ryan F. Larkin NewYork-Presbyterian Field Hospital. While Fred serves those in need during this time of crisis, we remain serving our clients throughout these difficult times. As the coronavirus death rate among veterans continues to climb, we are happy to see a little bit of good news for student veterans — Congress passed a second emergency package for those whose education has been disrupted due to the pandemic. The ScoutInsight team has concluded their celebration of National Beer Day, and if — like us — you’re in need of some lighthearted content, take a look at this week’s deep dive into the culture of craft brewing. In these unprecedented times, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Stay safe – we will get through this difficult time together! – Kiersten




‘We’ve Got the Energy:’ Military Doctors Relieve Worn-Out Staff in NYC Hospitals, Richard Sisk

In COVID-19 hotspots across the country, military medical staff are filtering into hospitals, including emerging field hospitals, in order to provide relief to over-stretched civilian medical personnel. Initially, ships like the 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship Comfort, were sent to New York City with a mission to take on the overflow of non-COVID patients. However, strategy to provide staffing relief has changed primarily due to “bureaucratic and logistical problems,” hindering the transfer of patients onto the ship. Adapting to the situation at hand, Navy doctors are now moving off the ship and into the hospitals on the ground. According to the article, over 1,100 volunteer doctors, nurses and medical aides from the reserves have deployed to the city already, with more deployments happening in the coming weeks. What we are experiencing is the United States military’s extraordinary capability to adapt and provide humanitarian support during a time of extreme need and crisis. This is very different from the military missions that I and so many others were involved in during our time in service, where our missions were primarily focused on war-making instead of relief efforts. Yet, the opportunity and need for relief efforts is ever present across the globe. After the COVID-19 crisis dissipates (fingers crossed that it does), let’s make humanitarian relief and demilitarization our primary mission, instead of a continuation of what has been our operating norm of the forever wars. Military veterans are also stepping up to the plate as they often do to help our communities. Their unique set of skills backed by the high quality training they received throughout their military careers makes them a valuable asset; as our very own Fred Wellman is proving by operating right now as the Chief of Staff of the Ryan F. Larkin NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University’s Baker Field, a temporary hospital created to care for COVID-19 patients. There are a lot of veterans out there who served in healthcare-related career fields while in service, yet are unable to put their valuable skills to practice in the civilian sector due to a lack of skills translation and lack of a civilian validated credential. The COVID-19 crisis is revealing just how necessary it is to recognize this high-quality training and set service members up on a pathway to quickly gain a high-quality credential that is recognized by civilian sectors. We have more to share with you on this front as our client the Lumina Foundation, in partnership with the American Legion, is working to advance military credentialing through the Military Credentialing Advancement Initiative (MCAI). Insights gained from the MCAI will be used to publish a report offering recommendations to key stakeholders for principles and guidelines necessary to ensure military-based learning can count toward high-quality, stackable civilian credentials. It is really amazing what we can accomplish when we put the needs of people and our communities at the center. Stay healthy and hopeful, America. We’ve got your back. – Kiersten Downs, PhD, Research Director at ScoutComms




Coronavirus death rate among veterans continues to climb
Military Times, Leo Shane III (@LeoShane)

There is a significantly higher percentage of COVID-19 cases among veterans than the rest of the general public, and the fatality rate among Veterans Affairs patients continues to rise. The death rate among these patients who have contracted the disease is 6.5 percent, a figure that has been steadily rising over the past three weeks. Nationally, the percentage of deaths from positive cases is 5 percent, making the VA patient death rate higher than the national average. There are 129 VA medical centers that have reported having at least one positive coronavirus case, and over the last month more than 1,500 VA employees have tested positive. Out of those 1,500 cases, at least 14 of them have died.


Lawmakers pass second emergency package to protect student veterans from coronavirus losses
Military Times, Leo Shane III (@LeoShane)

After passing an initial legislative package to guarantee stability in student veterans’ education benefit payouts while many colleges switch to online learning, Congress recently passed a second legislative package to ensure that student veterans receive consistent work study payments through the remainder of the semester. The new legislation, which was “hailed…as an important step in protecting veterans’ financial future,” also protected GI Bill housing payments even in a scenario where colleges are fully shuttered, in addition to protecting “this semester’s lost entitlements.” Tanya Ang, vice president of Veterans Education Success, reportedly commented that the legislative package “provides much needed relief for VA work-study allowing [student veterans] the opportunity to focus on…the health of themselves and their families.” The legislation received bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and will soon be sent to the White House where it is expected to be signed into law.

Quarantined Theodore Roosevelt crew erupts into cheers for the Marines taking care of them
Just the News, Susan Katz Keating (@SKatzKeating)

The USS Theodore Roosevelt, the aircraft carrier at the center of one of the biggest coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. Armed Forces, came together to organize a “thank you cheer” in appreciation for the unit of Marines tasked with looking after the ship’s quarantined sailors. The Roosevelt is docked in Guam while its crew undergo two-week quarantines, and the sailors are “being cared for by Marines who prepare food, deliver water, remove garbage, do laundry and otherwise help the sailors.” Marine Corps Cpt. Vicente Huerta and his unit produced a video in which they discussed how the Marines were “flooded with [appreciation] letters,” and Huerta commented that the thank you cheer “gave him goosebumps.” The Roosevelt has also been in the news recently as its skipper, Capt. Brett Crozier, was fired following his “letter pleading for the Navy to better help his crew” as it struggled with a massive coronavirus outbreak.

Study of malaria drug on VA virus patients shows no benefit, more deaths
Stars and Stripes, Nikki Wentling (@nikkiwentling)

The anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, did not work on patients recently treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The data collected represents the largest data set in the world regarding coronavirus patients who’ve been treated with hydroxychloroquine, and researchers stated, “in this study, we found no evidence that use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.” Among the patients in the study, researchers found there were more deaths among patients who were given the drug, than patients who received standard care. The study was paid for by the National Institutes of Health and University of Virginia and was submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, but the Associated Press reported that it has not yet been reviewed by other scientists. Researchers also stated, “these findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing, prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs.”



Volunteer in your pajamas and help a soldier
Houston Family Magazine, Houston Family (@HoustonFamily)

Soldiers’ Angels has many virtual volunteer opportunities for all ages to participate in while we continue social distancing. One opportunity is to utilize sewing skills to help VA hospitals in need of masks in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To support veterans and deployed troops, Soldiers’ Angels is asking for cards to be mailed to their headquarters in San Antonio; if you include a $1 bill with your card, it will go toward COVID-19 relief and support. See the full list of volunteer opportunities here.


Vets4Warriors Peers Remain Available 24/7

As we continue social distancing, we want to take this opportunity to remind you of our client Vets4warriors, a peer support network for the military and veteran communities. Their peers remain standing by to talk with you and connect you to needed resources. Now more than ever, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Reach them by calling 855.838.8255 or by visiting



April ScoutInsight Monthly Spotlight: A Closer Look at the Culture Within the Craft Brewing Industry
ScoutComms, Téa Le

On the last leg of ScoutInsight’s exploration of the world of craft brewing, we’re diving into the culture of the industry and how underrepresented groups have carved a space for themselves within the craft. Read this post for a review of factors that make craft brewing culture unique, and how brewery owners are doing their part to enrich their communities.

Military Times and ScoutComms Partner on Annual ‘Best for Vets’ Ranking Surveys

We are thrilled to partner with Military Times on the annual ‘Best for Vets’ Employers and Colleges rankings. ScoutInsight, our data analytics and market research team, will provide the research and survey analysis behind the annual surveys in a multi-year effort. The Best for Vets: Employers 2020 Survey is open now! We’re urging every company, nonprofit and government agency to take the survey, learn from it and find out where they stand as a supporter of this important community. Learn more here.

The Veterans Research Network

ScoutInsight, the market research division of ScoutComms, is building a unique online research community of veterans, service members, military family members and caregivers. Through the Veterans Research Network, you will be able to share your opinions and knowledge with decision-makers running the organizations that impact your lives. We would be honored if you would register to be part of this standing panel for future surveys, polls and focus groups on issues that matter and help shape impactful programs for our community. It’s secure and we will never share your personal data with anyone. Learn more here at and share it with your eligible friends and family!




The material in this issue of the ScoutReport may contain difficult discussions about mental health and suicide. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of harming themselves or someone else, please contact:


Veterans Crisis Line: 1‑800‑273‑8255 x1

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 


If you or someone you know is struggling with challenges in life and need a fellow veteran and military community member to talk to, we recommend our client Vets4Warriors – a free, 24/7 peer-to-peer support network:

Vets4Warriors: 1-855-838-8255

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