Blackfive and I were on a conference call today with BG Reuben Jones, the Army Adjutant General. What they wanted to reiterate was the Army's sincerity in their apology to the family members who received one of the 7,000 ''Dear John'' letters that went out this week.
BG Jones said that although not all of the recipients had received their letters yet (due to holidays, etc) he wanted to extend apologies and explain what happened. Without going into who-did-what-to-whom over WHY they got sent, he explained that steps have been taken to prevent its repeat. BG Jones stated that the focus is on ''helping the families to understand this was a mistake'' and that keeping the focus on assisting them ''in whatever way possible''.
A question was asked on the reactions from the families so far- BG Jones stated that it ran the gamut: from anger to seeing some humor in ''Dear John'' letters. But, by far, most that they've heard from understand what happened.
Commanders and all levels are involved in engaging the families, and extending offers to assist them in undestanding the situation and help refer them to the Survivor Outreach Service program. This is a program that helps direct survivor families to groups and programs to assist dealing with the loss of the servicemember.
One thing- you may read on other blogs about the 'real reason' there were 7,000 notices- like that's the true number of those killed. Well, its not true. Of the 3,344 Army personnel killed, many had dual-families (parents notified as well as spouses, etc) so the total is more than just those that have died in service to our country. To those bloggers out there- you stay classy, hear?
What we heard today was hearfelt, IMHO. Actually, I'm quite impressed with the speed that they've engaged us and been working to get the word out. Completely atypical from the past. And, BG Jones said words I long to hear from ANY flag officer- ''tell the truth, tell it now...''. Excellent action words.