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Amendment named for late Manalapan SEAL candidate seeks better medical care

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an amendment offered by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) which is aimed at improving medical care and oversight for high-stress military training programs in response to the death of U.S. Navy SEAL candidate Kyle Mullen, 24, of Manalapan, who died in February after completing the Navy’s rigorous “Hell Week” training.

The “Kyle Mullen Naval Safety Enhancements” amendment directs the U.S. Secretary of Defense to conduct an appraisal of current standards and provide recommendations for improved medical care and oversight of individuals in the Navy who are engaged in high-stress training, like the Navy SEALs, to better ensure sailor safety and to prevent long-term injury, illness and death, according to a press release from Smith’s office.

“Kyle’s mother, Regina, a nurse, told me in a heartbreaking conversation in her home that Kyle’s death could have been prevented had her son received timely medical attention,” said Smith, whose amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 passed with broad bipartisan support, according to the press release.

“Regina has many questions that demand answers,” Smith said. “Meanwhile, this grieving mom has made it clear and with great urgency and resolve that Congress and the Department of Defense must insist that medical care, aggressive monitoring and oversight be provided now, without delay, to every Navy SEAL candidate during high-stress training.

“Kyle was an extraordinary talented and gifted young man, a true leader who selflessly enlisted in the Navy to serve our nation and protect our freedom,” said Smith.

According to the press release, the congressman vowed to continue helping Mullen as she seeks to ensure proper medical support is available for Navy SEAL candidates.

Asked for a comment on the amendment Smith championed, Regina Mullen told Newspaper Media Group on July 18 it is “a step in the right direction. It is mind boggling to people that medical care did not already exist.

“I will continue to request an independent investigation, permanent ‘independent’ oversight and demand a military trial/court martial for all involved in my son’s senseless, avoidable death.

“The strongest, brightest brave young men and women deserve better for sacrificing their lives for this country. The entire country should want to know the truth and have people held accountable to never hurt or kill anyone ever again. My heart is forever broken,” Mullen said.

Smith’s amendment, which was adopted and passed by the House of Representatives as part of the NDAA, now moves to the Senate for consideration, according to the press release.

Newspaper Media Group Managing Editor Mark Rosman contributed to this article.

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