“Failures across multiple systems” contributed to the “Hell Week” death of a Navy SEAL candidate in Coronado, according to an investigation released Thursday by the U.S. Navy.
The nearly 200-page report focuses on “systemic issues” surrounding the training program that Seaman Kyle Mullen, 24, undertook just prior to his death on Feb. 4, 2022.
Mullen died at a hospital from bacterial pneumonia, the report stated.
CBS also reported Thursday that 10 people, among them two high-ranking Navy SEALs, could be prosecuted for their roles in Mullen’s death.
The Navy report, according to CBS, will be handed to the legal command for review to determine which individuals might be subject to court martial.
NBC San Diego reported three weeks ago that Capt. Brian Drechsler had been relieved of command of the Naval Special Warfare two months before an anticipated re-assignment.
In addition, eight months after Mullen’s death, the Navy, according to the Associated Press, issued reprimands to Drechsler, Capt. Brad Geary, the former commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare’s Basic Training Command and an unnamed person described as a “senior medical officer.”
Issues regarding instructors at Naval Special Warfare Training Center, along with medical oversight and safety management “led to a number of candidates being at a high risk of serious injury,” according to the newly released results of the Navy’s investigation.
“At its core, the investigation finds that relentless and continuous self-assessment and self-correction within all departments of (Naval Special Warfare Command’s Basic Training Command) is required,” said Rear Adm. Peter Garvin in a statement.
Risks “aggregated,” he continued, as the result of “inadequate oversight, insufficient risk assessment, poor medical command and control and undetected performance-enhancing drug use.”
According to the investigation, Mullen’s ailment progressed throughout “Hell Week” and was noticed by other candidates, instructors and staff, yet he did not receive adequate intervention.
“Candidates were placed at significant risk by a medical system not trained, organized, integrated or drilled to ensure continuous effective medical monitoring or care,” the report states, while placing blame for the failures on “absent or insufficient written guidance and ineffective oversight by both Basic Training Command and Naval Special Warfare Center medical and command leadership.”
The report also cited “uninformed risk decisions” made at the wrong command level.
The Navy said in a statement that a number of policy improvements have been made in the wake of Mullen’s death, including greater instructor oversight and training and updated medical policies and standard operating procedures.
The insights from the investigation, noted Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, will “further empower us to refine, enhance and elevate our naval commando training.”
“We will honor Seaman Mullen’s memory by ensuring that the legacy of our fallen teammate guides us towards the best training program possible for our future Navy SEALs,” Davids said.
– Staff and wire reports