An aspiring SEAL special forces man who died just hours after completing the grueling Hell Week test was identified Sunday as a 24-year-old sailor who joined the military last year. Sailor Kyle Mullen died Friday at a San Diego-area hospital after he and another SEAL cadet reported symptoms of an unknown condition, the Navy said. The other sailor, whose name has not been released, remained hospitalized in stable condition, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.
The cause of death is unknown and is being investigated. Both men fell ill just hours after successfully completing the test that culminates the first phase of evaluation and selection for the elite Underwater Basic Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) class. The Navy said neither experienced an accident or unusual incidents during Hell Week, which lasts five and a half days.
Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, at the head of Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, California, expressed his condolences to Mullen’s family in a statement.”We are extending all forms of support we can to the Mullen family and Kyle’s classmates at BUD/S,” Howard said. Mullen entered the Navy in March 2021, according to his biography there. In July, he reported to SEAL training in Coronado, the Union-Tribune said.
The Hell Week test is part of the BUD/S class, which involves basic underwater demolition, survival, and other combat tactics. It takes place in the fourth week of evaluation of candidates for SEALs, in which they aspire to be selected to be trained in the Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command. The SEAL program tests physical and psychological strength, as well as water ability and leadership skills. It is so strenuous that between 50% and 60% of the aspirants fail to succeed in the Week of Hell, in which candidates are required to reach the limit of their strength.