A group of bloggers were able to interview BG Reuben Jones on Thursday [January 8 2009] for a hurriedly called Bloggers’ Roundtable. The topic was a letter which had been sent out to relatives of Army soldiers who had died during the War on Terror.
The letter had been sent to an outside contractor for handling. It’s not clear whether the contractor was to do a mail merge to personalize the letters and then handle the mailing, or only part of those tasks.
The letters ended up being sent with the salutation “Dear John Doe”. In addition, an incorrect address for the Army was used.
The chain of custody of the materials and the process involved were not discussed by BG Jones. His focus, and he could not be swayed from it, was to convey in the strongest terms the Army’s apology for that letter and the hurt which it may cause family members.
I directly asked him about consequences, for the contractor and for those in the Pentagon involved in the incident. He would not answer. I was afraid to ask if the same contractor was involved in sending out the follow-up letter of apology that the General told us was being prepared.
General Jones could not say if all the original letters had been received as yet. He had received feedback from the families and many were glad to receive the information in the letter, resources for families of soldiers who had died, and only a small number were upset over the errors.
BG Jones repeatedly stated that these families were part of the Army family. He and his staff were horrified by the error and were devoting themselves to the apology and to making the families feel they had been heard.
Here is the link for the content that was intended to be shared with the next of kin:
Here is more information on this topic:
DoD Survivors’ Guide [pdf file]
Transcript [pdf file]
Table of contents for Bloggers' Roundtable
- We Don’t Commute to Work Anymore
- Terror Investors Might Want to Look Elsewhere
- I Hear It’s Safe
- In Our Area the Taliban Are Paying More a Month
- Iraqi Police Progress
- Sept. 11 Conspirators Going to Trial
- Continued Courage and Committment
- The Year of Opportunity – 2008
- Competent, Capable, Effective Leadership
- Afghan Army Acts: Decisive, Overwhelming
- Iraqi Military Medical Services
- Dallas Reporting: Aid Mission to Georgia
- Military Integration Into NIMS
- Status Report From the Afghan South
- Status Report From the Afghan East
- Fourth Fleet Is About Partnerships
- Iraqi Police Primer
- Sons of Iraq Status Update
- Army Apologizes
- We Are Here!
- Yar! There Be Pirates!
- Cobra Gold 2009
- Our Best: Sergeant First Class Helen Gillespie
- Africa Partnership Station Comes to E Africa
- Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan
- Sons of Iraq and the Iraqi Budget
- Air Force Combat Camera – Focus on the Fight
- Afghan Update for July 22, 2009
- The Army Goal: 1.5 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy
- Withdrawing from Iraq – some perspective
- Iraqi security update April 22 2010
- 2012 Federal Budget for Defense
- Pacific Command and the Pacific
- Air Force high flyers mark 100th anniversary