Thanks for the comments - they are helpful..
The problem is that strut selection for the Chrysler minivans is limited only to a few names like Gabriel, Monroe, and the KYB GR2's - which now I know are not made in the OEM KYB plants but are outsourced or purchased by KYB from this plant in Mexico and perhaps another one in Spain. Nothing is available from Boge, Bilstein or other names that many consider to be of superior quality.
As a comparison, I went and look at the Gabriel brand of strut for this application and they are exactly the same as this strut from KYB (of course, without the problem pictured above). Both are manufactured in Mexico at what appears to be the same plant.
I suspect AC Delco may also be the same but I've not seen one up close yet.
Is there any difference b/t these brands of struts for this model? Yes, IMO they come off the assembly line and are placed in different "branded" boxes prior to shipping. That is it.
I'm going to sleep on it over the weekend. I will either send the one back for replacement or return both of them. This has been an eye opener I must say.