Navy Seal Candidate Dies During Grueling 'Hell Week'

Seaman who died Friday has been identified
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 6, 2022 6:01 AM CST
Updated Feb 7, 2022 4:00 AM CST
Navy Seal Candidate Dies After 'Hell Week'
The Navy SEAL trident.   (Getty/pamelasphotopoetry)

Update: The Navy SEAL candidate who died Friday after "Hell Week" has been identified as a New Jersey 24-year-old. Seaman Kyle Mullen had been a standout basketball and football player at Manalapan High School who then played football for Yale and Monmouth universities, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports. His cause of death remains under investigation. The second sailor who was hospitalized at the same time as Mullen remains in the hospital but is in stable condition, USA Today reports. Neither was training at the time of their hospitalization. Our original story from Sunday follows:

One Navy SEAL candidate died and a second was in the hospital after falling ill just hours after they successfully completed the grueling Hell Week test that ends the first phase of assessment and selection for Navy commandos, per the AP. Neither had experienced an accident or unusual incident during the five-and-a-half-day exam. The Navy said the cause of death was not immediately known and was under investigation. The sailor's name was being withheld until 24 hours after his family was notified, in accordance with Navy policy. The other sailor was in stable condition at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

The SEAL program tests physical and psychological strength along with water competency and leadership skills. The program is so grueling that at least 50% to 60% don’t make it through Hell Week, when candidates are pushed to the limit. The last SEAL candidate to die during the assessment phase was 21-year-old Seaman James Derek Lovelace in 2016. He was struggling to tread water in full gear in a giant pool when his instructor pushed him underwater at least twice. He lost consciousness and died. An autopsy revealed he had an enlarged heart that contributed to his death.

(More Navy SEALs stories.)

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