Based on the results of the investigation, NSWC concluded the death of Mullen was in the line of duty, not due to his own misconduct. According to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s autopsy report, Mullen died of acute pneumonia with cardiomegaly as a contributing factor in the hours after successfully completing Hell Week, and Performance Enhancing Drugs were not a contributing cause of Mullen’s death.
“Our deepest sympathy extends to Seaman Mullen’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Keith Davids.
Additionally, Commander, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), a separate Echelon 2 command with expertise in recruiting, training and education, is conducting a separate investigation into the circumstances surrounding SN Kyle Mullen’s death as well as the broader circumstances that were raised by Mullen’s death.
“NSW remains committed to transparency and we welcome the opportunity to review our assessment and selection programs, and help us look for additional ways to improve and prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again,” said Davids.
“Kyle’s death will not be in vain.” said Davids. “We have a moral obligation to learn everything we can from Kyle’s tragic death so that we can ensure the safety of all future candidates.”
While NSW awaits the results of the separate, ongoing investigation, NSWC has closely examined all aspects of its training programs. This includes the institution of a cardiac screening program; increased prevention measures for pneumonia; the extension of the observation period for 24 hours post securing both BUD/S Phase 1 Assessment and Selection crucible events; and “medically safe-to-train” performance enhancing drugs (“PED”) testing through urine tests.