The Army issued a formal apology to the families of soldiers killed in combat yesterday after it sent letters addressed “Dear John Doe” to of their 7,000 relatives. "There are no words to adequately apologize for this mistake or for the hurt it may have caused," Brig. Gen. Reuben D. Jones wrote yesterday in a statement. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. is also sending a personal apology letter to the families. The letter was sent to provide information about private companies that offer assistance to families of the fallen. The salutation prompted a strong reaction from some military families. "The indication that anyone would perceive that a hero is not significant, that they would not direct this personally to them, is shattering," said Merrilee Carlson, whose son died in Iraq in 2005.