WASHINGTON - The Marine Corps accidentally mailed thank-you packages with Purple Heart ornaments to 1,150 dead Marines, the service acknowledged today.
The holiday ornaments, intended for living Purple Heart recipients, were addressed to the deceased Marines and went to their families, according to a USMC news statement.
The Marines learned of the error on Monday night when one of the families called the Wounded Warrior Regiment.
“There are no words to express how very sorry we are for the hurt such a mistake has caused the families of our fallen warriors,” Col. John L. Mayer, commander of the WWR, said in the statement.
Along with the ornament, the package contained a letter to the Marine from Mayer and the WWR sergeant major and a flier with information about an athletic reconditioning program. The WWR mailed more than 9,000 packages to wounded Marines and sailors who were serving with Marine units.
“There is no excuse for why this happened,” Mayer said. “We accept full responsibility for this error and are moving quickly to reach out to the families we have affected. This initiative was meant to thank combat-wounded Marines and sailors for their service.”
Mayer is personally calling the families who contacted the regiment about the mistake, and the WWR will send out letters of apology to the others.