ARLINGTON, Va. — Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey has personally signed letters apologizing to about 7,000 families of fallen soldiers who received letters last month that all began "Dear John Doe."

"There’s some things that you just have to personalize, and that was too personal," Casey said Wednesday.

Printed by a contractor, the letters were intended to inform families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan about private organizations that can help them, but the names of the families did not transfer when the contractor combined the letters with a list of families’ addresses.

The Army announced the mistake and issued an apology on Jan. 6.

Calling the incident a "terrible mistake," Casey said the Army has since suspended all mass mailings and e-mails pending a quality control check.

"We are working on what’s the appropriate action against the contractor right now," Casey told reporters after speaking at an Association of the United States Army event Wednesday.

Casey said he did not know the name of the contractor that printed the "John Doe" letters.

The Army has refused to release the name of the contractor, prompting some Stars and Stripes readers to ask why.

"The decision not to release the contractor’s name is because, ultimately, it’s the Army’s responsibility, sir, not the contractor’s, to maintain quality control," explained Army spokesman Paul Boyce on Monday.

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