Navy SEALs recruits fac strict blood tests after steroids scandal where recruit died after Hell Week
The Navy has proposed rigorous blood tests among SEAL recruits after a 24-year old SEAL trainee died hours after completing the grueling ‘Hell Week.’
Senior Navy officials have asked the Pentagon to approve blood testing to detect potentially illegal or banned substances used by the elite forces.
Seaman Kyle Mullen of Manalapan, New Jersey died on February 4, 2022.
A military autopsy report revealed that the young trainees’ cause of death was pneumonia. The report also indicated that Mullen went untreated until it was too late, the news outlet reported.
But, hours after his death steroids were found in Mullen’s car, CNN reported.
Mullen’s mother Regina Mullen, a registered nurse, told the news outlet that her son did not have PEDs in his system, according to the the toxicology report, but said her son had told her other trainees were using them, the news outlet said.
Seaman Kyle Mullen of Manalapan, New Jersey died on February 4, 2022. A military autopsy report revealed that the young trainees’ cause of death was pneumonia. The report also indicated that Mullen went untreated until it was too late, the news outlet reported
Mullen was captain of the Yale football team before his departure due to ‘personal reasons’ in 2018
The underwater exercise is part of the grueling Navy SEAL training. This picture was taken at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado
Navy SEAL candidates participate in strength and conditioning training with logs at Naval Special Warfare
‘There was more doing it than not let’s just say,’ Regina Mullen said.
Mullen spoke of the training program and the competition the trainees endure, in addition to a significant number of people in the SEALs, she said, ‘doing drugs and getting away with it pushed people to their limits,’ the news outlet reported
‘So many of the men were getting away with it and doing it, so here you have these amazing athletes that don’t do it. They get there, and lesser men are beating them in the obstacle course and whatever they do in their drills,’ she said.
Mullen continued: ‘They’re recovering better and you’re not. You almost feel like you want to be on the same playing field.’
Less than 24 hours after Mullen’s death, senior officials ordered that the entire SEAL training class undergo urinalysis testing. If testosterone levels were elevated that may determine if PEDs were consumed
The findings revealed that of the 1,000 personnel tested, more than 30 tested positive and were eventually removed from training.
A naval special warfare senior officer who spoke anonymously, said, ‘beyond a reasonable doubt that a significant portion of the candidate population is utilizing a wide range of performance enhancing drugs.’
PEDs can be dangerous and negative for athletes that can cause a number of health issues including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and in some cases strokes.
The use of PEDs goes back decades and have been reportedly used among elite athletes – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones.
The most commonly used PEDs are anabolic androgenic steroids, which are known for their ability to build and strengthen muscle as well as reduce body fat.
The Defense Department has not ruled on the request for blood testing, CNN reported,
Senior SEAL officials believe drug use inside the elite unit includes not just human growth hormone but a wide range of substances, but it is unclear, they said, how many SEALs still may be using PED.
‘When we first heard about possible PED usage we went in extremely fast and extremely hard on testing,’ the senior officer said, the news outlet reported.
Candidates are using PED ‘because they believe they need it,’ the officer added. ‘They don’t.’
PEDs can be dangerous and negative for athletes that can cause a number of health issues including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and in some cases strokes. The most commonly used PEDs are anabolic androgenic steroids, which are known for their ability to build and strengthen muscle as well as reduce body fat
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
This image is from the television program: Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week with former Navy Seal Ray Care
Students in Navy SEALs qualification training navigate the surf off the coast of Coronado during a maritime operations training exercise. This image was taken in Coronado, California October 2010
The tragic death of Mullen, who had been an all around athlete at his New Jersey high school and football star, has revealed a culture of ‘brutality, cheating, and drugs’ at BUD/S, with ‘dozens’ of unnamed SEALs and recent BUD/S graduates stating that the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) has become rampant in SEAL training over the last decade, according to recent article in The New York Times.
The article was based on interviews with 17 active-duty Navy personnel, including senior leaders, active-duty SEALs and current and former trainees and instructors.
Kyle’s mother shared a statement written by U.S. Army Regional Medical Examiner Wendy Warren and dated May 2 with the Asbury Park Press, sharing Mullen’s final moments.
‘This sailor had completed Hell Week and was being looked after by nonmedical personnel to help him tend to his basic needs,’ it reads. ‘He was in a wheelchair most of the time, unable to stand and walk on his own. He had reportedly been coughing/spitting up red-tinged fluid which had nearly filled a 36 oz. sports drink bottle.
In January was Mullen’s second attempt at becoming a Navy SEAL. The first time was in August 2021, but only lasted less than a day, despite training all year –running, swimming and lifting weights – to prepare, The New York Times reported.
Mullen’s mother told the news outlet that while he waited to enter into the program, his mother recalled, Seaman Mullen ‘talking to her about performance enhancing drugs.’
She said that her son told her that men he met in the recovery unit were using steroids and human growth hormone, and he was considering it. He also told her he would have to purchase a used car as a place to keep the drugs.
‘In all his years playing sports, he had never touched that stuff,’ Regina Mullen said. ‘I told him not to do it. But he ended up getting the car and sharing it with a bunch of guys.’
Before becoming Navy SEALs, candidates are put through some of the most mentally challenging and physically demanding training in the world, according to the Navy SEALs website.
Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUD/S, is designed to find and develop men of the strongest character who give everything they have to accomplish their mission and support the men on their team, the site said.
A breakdown of ‘Hell Week’ and the other stages of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training
Hell Week is the fourth week in Phase 1 – which takes place in Stage 3 – and is a brutal week of physical activity and very little sleep.
‘Hell Week is the defining event of BUD/S training,’ the Navy says.
Hell Week consists of five-and-a-half days of cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on fewer than four hours of sleep. It tests ‘physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation.’
It starts on a Sunday and runs to Friday.
Trainees are constantly in motion. They are running, swimming, paddling, carrying boats on their heads, doing log PT, sit-ups, push-ups, rolling in the sand, slogging through mud, paddling boats and doing surf passage, the Navy said.
On average, only 25 percent of candidates make it through Hell Week, which is the toughest training offered in the military.
Throughout the week, there will be medical personnel on site to help exhausted or injured candidates.
Candidates will also experience brutal nagging, enticing them to quit and mimicking their inner voices, highlighting their pain.
The Other Stages
Stage 1: Prep School
Trainees start in Illinois for two months to prepare for BUD/S.
Candidates will go through a modified physical fitness test to prepare them for the rigorous activity they will endure during BUD/S.
The test includes:
- 1000-meter swim – with fins (20 minutes or under)
- Push-ups: at least 70 (Two-minute time limit)
- Pull-ups: at least 10 (No time limit)
- Sit-ups: at least 60 (Two-minute time limit)
- Four-mile run – with shoes + pants (31 minutes or under)
Candidates who do not pass will be moved to different jobs of the Navy.
Stage 2: Basic Orientation
Basic orientation lasts for three weeks and takes place in Coronado, California, at the Naval Special Warfare Center.
Candidates will be introduced to ‘BUD/S physical training, the obstacle course and other unique training aspects’ in this stage.
Stage 3: First Phase (includes Hell Week)
This phase – which includes Hell Week at Week 4 – lasts seven weeks.
It is used to further develop ‘physical training, water competency and mental tenacity while continuing to build teamwork.’
Each week, trainees will experience harder conditions, such as longer runs, swims, and workouts.
They will also learn how to conduct hydrographic survey operations.
This phase sees a significant drop in candidates.
Stage 4: Phase Two – Combat Diving
This phase also lasts seven weeks and introduces underwater skills that are unique to Navy SEALs.
Trainees become ‘basic combat swimmers and learn open and closed-circuit diving.’
Candidates need to feel comfortable in the water and demonstrate a high level of comfort there.
Stage 5: Land Warfare Training
The final stage last seven weeks and develops skills in ‘basic weapons, demolitions, land navigation, patrolling, rappelling, marksmanship and small-unit tactics.’
Half of this training will take place on San Clemente Island – roughly 60 miles from base and they will practice the skills they learned in Stage 3.