News Branch Navy

Navy identifies SEAL trainee who died hours after completing ‘Hell Week’

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Navy SEAL hell week
U.S. Navy SEAL candidates participate in Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. SEALs are the maritime component of U.S. Special Forces and are trained to conduct a variety of operations from the sea, air and land.(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Abe McNatt)

A 24-year-old Navy SEAL trainee who died just hours after completing Hell Week has been identified as Seaman Kyle Mullen.

Mullen, from Manalapan, New Jersey, died at Sharp Coronado Hospital, California, in the afternoon on Feb. 4, Naval Special Warfare Command announced in a statement. Just hours earlier, Mullen and his Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) class successfully completed Hell Week — a five-and-a-half-day period of intensive training that occurs during the first phase of training which focuses on physical conditioning

At the time of his death, Mullen was not actively training, and the cause is still under investigation, the Navy said.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Seaman Mullen’s family for their loss,” Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a statement. “We are extending every form of support we can to the Mullen family and Kyle’s BUD/S classmates.”  

According to the Associated Press, Mullen and another SEAL trainee reportedly experienced symptoms of an unknown illness and were hospitalized. The other sailor was last reported as being in “stable condition” at Naval Medical Center San Diego, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The last Navy SEAL candidate to die during training was Seaman James Derek Lovelace, who was 21-years-old when he died in 2016 after struggling to tread water in full gear in a pool when his instructor pushed him underwater. Lovelace’s death was initially ruled a homicide, the Union-Tribune reported, but the Navy did not pursue criminal charges following an investigation. An autopsy found that Lovelace had an enlarged heart and an abnormal coronary artery, though it was unclear from the report what role those conditions played in his death, according to the Union-Tribune.

The latest SEAL training death comes months after Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, the commander of SEAL Team 8, died after being injured during a fast-rope training evolution in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in December 2021.

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