Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oops: From the Fayetteville Observer

Army regrets letters' error

By Henry Cuningham
Military editor

The Army’s top general is personally signing letters of apology to 7,000 families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, after they accidentally received correspondence addressed to “Dear John Doe.”

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff, is expressing regret for the printing error on the letters that should have contained personalized greetings.

“He feels very strongly about that,” said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon. Casey lost his own father in the Vietnam War.

The addresses were printed correctly on the envelopes, but an automated program failed to personalize the inside letter for recipients — spouses, parents, children or siblings of soldiers killed in action.

“It does not reflect the high-quality personal communication that we strive for when we send the letters out to the families,” Boyce said. “We should have caught it.”

The letter was printed by a contractor and mailed in late December, informing families about private groups offering help to those who lost loved ones in combat, the Army said Wednesday.

“It’s definitely not the contractor’s fault,” Boyce said. “It’s our fault. Ultimately we had to quality-control it.”

The letter was sent from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command’s Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Center in Alexandria, Va., which subsequently issued a formal apology on Wednesday.

“There are no words to adequately apologize for this mistake or for the hurt it may have caused,” Brig. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, the Army adjutant general, said in a statement Tuesday. “It is important the original intent of the letter is not lost. The organizations mentioned are dedicated to honoring loved ones and recognizing their sacrifice and commitment.”


Infantry Dad said...

If whom ever was responsible for this error worked for anyone but out government, would he/she still have a job?
I was relieved to see that our congressmen all got their cost of living raise. Just before they tabled discussion on the economic stimulus package. Because they didn't want to rush into making a decision.
They really care about us.. Don't they?

AirmanMom said...

My heart goes out to the families who received those letters.
Oh my...

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

MightyMom said...

okay, well, screwups happen..that's a fact of life. I'm glad that the Army is going to such lengths to apologize and seems heartily sorry for the screw up. But wow, if my hubby or son was lost and I got that letter........well, you don't wanna be sitting in that office or the ones near it when I got ahold of the person who mailed it!!!

Airborne dad said...


I didn't know about the cost of living raises. I've had my own business for five years, haven't given myself a raise. Heck, half the time I don't even get paid.


My sentiments.


Can you imagine?

Infantry Dad said...

Didn't know about the cost of living raises?
They automatically get a cost of living raise every year. It's a written law.
The only way they wouldn't get the raise is if they vote unanimously to not receive it.
What do you think the chance of that happening is?
Another eight inches of snow this morning!!!!! Gotta go plow and shovel!!!
What's the temp of your pool?
Lawn need mowing?
Hope all is well.

Airborne dad said...


You are right. I should have remembered that about Congress.

Weather here has been mild although temperatures at the beach will dip into the 20s by the end of the week. Pretty typical January so far.

I was watching the New England weather over the weekend, so I know you guys are having a heck of a winter.

H.L. said...

Wow, I'm surprised this story didn't make it further into National News. Or did it?