Investigation continues after Navy SEAL candidate from NJ dies following 'Hell Week' training

Kyle Mullen was assigned to the Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command in San Diego, California.

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Monday, February 7, 2022
Investigation continues after Navy SEAL candidate from NJ dies
The death of a Navy SEAL candidate is under investigation after 24-year-old Kyle Mullen passed away just hours after completing "Hell Week" training. Toni Yates has the story.

MANALAPAN, New Jersey (WABC) -- The death of a Navy SEAL candidate is under investigation after 24-year-old Kyle Mullen, from Manalapan, passed away Friday just hours after completing the first phase of the training.

His death is putting the spotlight on the grueling training session known as "Hell Week," designed to push sailors who want to become SEALs to their physical and mental limits.

Mullen passed away, while another SEAL candidate remains hospitalized in stable condition after the grueling 120 hour week.

"I think four or five hours of sleep the entire week," retired SEAL Admiral Robert Howard said. "You're in the ocean incessantly, so you experience hypothermia...You're on your feet, you're running, you're carrying boats, you're in the water."

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The cause of death is currently unknown and is under investigation, but the Navy says the two SEAL candidates were taken to the hospital several hours after their basic underwater demolition class successfully completed "Hell Week," which is considered the most punishing week in this six month SEAL assessment.

While the candidates are supposed to receive medical screenings throughout the course of the week, Mullen's death is the fourth in SEAL selection since 2001.

"At the end of the day, we need to produce the type of young men we need for the job," Howard said. "But at the end of the day, we're also more importantly focused on everyone's safety."

Mullen also played football at Monmouth University.

"We are all saddened by the unfortunate passing of Kyle Mullen," head coach Kevin Callahan said in a statement. "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."

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While there can always be a previously unknown medical problem in an individual, having Mullen die and another trainee hospitalized at the same time raises red flags and will be heavily scrutinized.

The name of the hospitalized SEAL candidate was not released.


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