Navy identifies SEAL candidate who died shortly after completing ‘Hell Week’ training

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The U.S. Navy has identified the sailor who died last week shortly after completing the grueling first phase of SEAL training that is known as “Hell Week” for its rigorous and uncompromising testing of candidates for the elite military force.

On Friday, 24-year-old Kyle Mullen of Manalapan, New Jersey along with another unnamed SEAL candidate were taken to the hospital only hours after both had successfully completed the initial phase of their training.

According to a statement from the Navy’s Special Warfare Command “Two SEAL candidates, assigned to Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command, were taken to the hospital on Feb. 4 several hours after their Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) class successfully completed Hell Week, part of the first phase of the Navy SEAL assessment and selection pathway,”

The statement added, “Both Sailors were not actively training when they reported symptoms and were transported to receive emergency care,” Mullen would go on to pass away at the San Diego-area hospital where he was taken, the Navy confirmed his identity on Sunday.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Seaman Mullen’s family for their loss,” said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command.

“We are extending every form of support we can to the Mullen family and Kyle’s BUD/S classmates,” according to the statement released by the U.S. Navy.

(Video: PIX 11 News)

According to the website

“Hell Week is the defining event of BUD/S training. It is held early on – in the 3rd week of First Phase – before the Navy makes an expensive investment in SEAL operational training. Hell Week consists of 5 1/2 days of cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on fewer than four hours of sleep. Hell Week tests physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation. Above all, it tests determination and desire.”


“On average, only 25% of SEAL candidates make it through Hell Week, the toughest training in the U.S. Military. It is often the greatest achievement of their lives, and with it comes the realization that they can do 20X more than they ever thought possible. It is a defining moment that they reach back to when in combat. They know that they will never, ever quit, or let a teammate down,” the website described the rigorous training phase.

(Video: You Tube – U.S. Navy SEAL AND SWCC Official Channel)

“Mullen joined the Navy in March 2021, according to his Navy biography. He reported to SEAL training in Coronado in July,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Mullen starred as an athlete: “At Manalapan High School, Mullen was All-Shore Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, leading the Braves to an NJSIAA sectional title. He also played varsity basketball.”

“At Yale, he was a second-team All-Ivy League selection as a defensive lineman. As a postgraduate player at Monmouth University in 2019, he recorded 26 tackles for a loss, including 3.5 sacks, and broke up five passes,” the outlet reported.

“Great athlete but a better person — everybody loved him,” his former high school football coach Ed Guerreri was quoted by the APP. “Probably one of the best kids I ever had. Great, great kid on the field but even better off the field. Just everything you would want: Great grades, national honor society, no shortcuts, worked hard at everything he did, never gave less than 100 percent, got along with everybody,”

Monmouth University paid tribute to Mullen on its Facebook page, saying, “We are all saddened by the unfortunate passing of Kyle Mullen. As a member of our 2019 championship team, he will be remembered not just as a excellent player, but also as an excellent person and a great teammate. He was highly motivated on the field, but his maturity, intelligence, and concern for his fellow teammates is what stands out about Kyle. On behalf of President Leahy and the entire Monmouth University community, we wish to offer condolences to the Mullen Family on their loss,” wrote Monmouth Head Coach Kevin Callahan

(Image: Facebook)

“Mullen is at least the sixth SEAL candidate to die while going through the arduous training program since 1988. All but one of the deaths involved training in water,” according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

The cause of his death is under investigation.


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