Navy SEAL Candidate Who Died After ‘Hell Week’ Training Identified as NJ Man

by Matthew Memrick

The U.S. Navy identified a New Jersey man as the Navy Seal who died after an intensive training process known as “Hell Week.”

On Friday, Sharp Coronado Hospital officials pronounced 24-year-old Kyle Mullen dead in San Diego. The Navy said the Manalapan, N.J. native’s death is under investigation as he was “not actively training at the time of his death.”

According to People magazine, Mullen played football at Yale and Monmouth universities.

Officials say another SEAL candidate is in the hospital after the training in stable condition.

Hell Week Pushes SEAL Candidates To Limits

Reportedly, the man and his Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL class recently completed the training.

Mullen, 24, and his Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) class had just completed “Hell Week,” which is when sailors who wish to become SEALs go through intense training that pushes them to their physical and mental limits. 

To complete the Navy SEAL training, candidates go through more than 12 months of training. In addition to the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL BUD/S School, candidates participate in the Parachute Jump School and SEAL Qualification Training (SQT). The SQT is 18 months of pre-deployment training and intensive specialized training.

As for “Hell Week” itself, that’s roughly five and a half days. According to a Navy SEALS website, the defining training time happens during the third week of the First Phase. This time period helps determine the Navy’s commitment to a SEAL candidate.

The training is often miserable with the candidate working in cold, wet, and brutally tricky operational conditions on fewer than four hours of sleep.

NBC News said just one in five SEAL candidates who make it through “Hell Week” go on to become program graduates. Each year, the program produces 200 to 250 SEALs. 

Coach, Friends Pay Tribute To SEAL Candidate

After the Navy announced Mullens death, many took to social media to remember the former football player.

Monmouth University’s head football coach Kevin Callahan remembered Mullen as a member of the school’s 2019 title-winning team. In a Facebook post, Callahan said Mullen was not only “an a excellent player, but also as an excellent person and a great teammate.”

The coach said Mullen was “highly motivated on the field” and that “his maturity, intelligence, and concern for his fellow teammates is what stands out.”

USA Today caught up with the SEAL candidate’s former high school football coach, Ed Guerreri, after the news came out. Guerreri recalled the young man as a “great athlete but a better person” during his tenure on the team in his teenage years.

During high school, Mullen was reportedly an honor society student. Guerreri said, “everyone loved him” and that Mullen was “probably one of the best kids I ever had. Great, great kid on the field but even better off the field.”

Next season, Manalapan will honor the SEAL candidate by wearing a “44” sticker on their helmets. Mullen wore the number on the football team.

ABC News reported the last candidate to die was 21-year-old James Lovelace. The news channel said Lovelace died in a pool drowning during a May 2016 course.