Editor’s note: The author of this Your Turn guest column is Regina Mullen, whose son, Kyle Mullen, 24, a native of Manalapan and a graduate of Manalapan High School, died earlier this year while he was training to become a U.S. Navy SEAL. Regina Mullen is seeking a full account of what happened to her son.
By Regina Mullen
Democracy and freedom are founded on an informed public. I would like the public to be made aware of the U.S. Navy SEALs medical negligence.
Unfortunately, due to my son Kyle Mullen’s passing, I am learning of other atrocities and cover-ups that have been going on for years.
The American public and the government should care about the fate of men who courageously risk their lives to defend this great nation. The public needs to demand an independent investigation by the government and report the findings to the congressional committee that oversees the military.
Immunity should be offered in order to induce SEAL cooperation and the investigation would be a means for truth and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Substantial recommendations to the U.S. Department of Defense and to Congress should be submitted for consequences and reform.
Please continue reading this column to see a letter Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ), who is a member of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, has sent to Sean O’Donnell, the acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Defense, requesting an immediate inspector general investigation into the death of my son, a Navy SEAL candidate who died hours after completing “Hell Week.”
My son was found on the barracks floor by a 19-year-old non-medical sailor. Kyle did not die in a hospital as the media continually states inaccurately.
Another SEAL candidate was sent to the hospital that day, Feb. 4, 2022, in critical condition. That individual was intubated and treated for severe pneumonia, which is what I believe Kyle also had.
The Navy to this date has yet to reveal Kyle’s autopsy results, which is another concerning matter.
In his letter to O’Donnell, Congressman Kim states, “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I write to you today out of deep concern and sadness over the tragic death of New Jersey resident and Navy SEAL candidate Kyle Mullen.
“Kyle was only 24 years old when he died waiting for medical attention in San Diego just
hours after finishing the ‘Hell Week’ portion of the SEAL selection process.
“I strongly urge and respectfully request that you immediately initiate a full and thorough investigation into the incident involving Kyle Mullen and the circumstances that led to his death.
“It’s my understanding there were multiple warning signs, but candidate Mullen was not
offered comprehensive nor consistent medical treatment.
“I am deeply concerned by allegations that multiple calls for assistance went unanswered and that officers and instructors may have encouraged and facilitated the use of steroids and Human Growth Hormone for recovery,” Kim wrote.
“Kyle, his family, friends and community deserve to know the truth about what happened on that day. The entire country deserves to know and trust that we treat our men and women in uniform, including those that are vying for elite positions to serve their country, with the utmost professionalism, dignity, decency and highest quality of care at all times. Anything less is unacceptable.
“While I am aware there is a Navy investigation underway into Kyle’s death, I feel it entirely appropriate to launch an independent Inspector General investigation as well and I encourage you to leave no stone unturned.
” … Steps should be taken to ensure there is no retaliation against anyone for participating in the investigation. Moreover, no officers nor instructors, regardless of rank, ought to be shielded from accountability or allowed to avoid investigation through assignment changes or retirement.
“I also ask that you share any and all outcomes of that investigation with Kyle’s family and the public so there is accountability for any individuals that bear responsibility. It goes without saying that a single death during a training exercise is one too many and that our military families deserve better,” Kim wrote to O’Donnell.
As things stand now, the SEALs investigate themselves. This is absurd. … There is no doubt that without Congress’s involvement, both through oversight and administering the investigation itself, there will be no chance of reform.
I am encouraging members of the public and all military personnel – those who are currently serving and those who are veterans – to call, write and/or email members of Congress, senators, etc., to not only provide their own stories, but to demand an immediate investigation. I hope we can help to save young men’s lives in the future.
Regina Mullen is the mother of Kyle Mullen.