WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Marine Corps has apologized for mailing Purple Heart Christmas tree ornaments to the families of about 1,150 dead Marines and sailors by mistake.
The gold ornaments, with an image of the Purple Heart in the center, were part of a package from the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment. It included a letter to the deceased recipient from the regiment's commanding officer and sergeant major along with a flyer on an athletic reconditioning program.
The packages were addressed to the dead service members. The Corps said it learned of the mistake when family members called late on Monday.
"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," Colonel John Mayer, the regiment's commanding officer, said in a statement on Tuesday.
"There is no excuse for why this happened."
The regiment is sending letters of apology to the families of the dead Marines and sailors. Mayer also is calling the families who contacted the regiment.
The mistakenly shipped ornaments were part of more than 9,000 packages sent to recipients of the Purple Heart medal, the statement said.
The Wounded Warrior Regiment provides aid to wounded, sick and injured Marines and sailors who have been attached to Marine units and to their families. The Purple Heart is awarded to service personnel killed or wounded in action.
The Wounded Warrior Regiment is headquartered at Quantico, Virginia.
(Reporting By Ian Simpson; Editing by Jerry Norton)