The New York Times headline on August 30th was certainly attention-getting,

The hook they hung these sensational charges on was the death of Seaman Kyle Mullen who died of a particularly virulent strain of pneumonia after he completed the portion of Basic Underwater Demolition School known as Hell Week. Mullin was back in his room and was discovered by another BUD/S student to be unresponsive and medical personnel were called. As it would turn out, it was too late. In investigating the “mishap” a term used by the navy to describe events that occur outside of planned expectations, they found syringes and performance-enhancing drugs(PEDs) in his car. The captain in charge of BUD/S found during his investigation that about 40 candidates had either tested positive or had admitted to using steroids or other drugs in violation of clearly stated and acknowledged Navy regulations against their use. Regulations that exist for three reasons,

  1. They can be dangerous to use while undergoing the intense physical training that BUD/S entails,
  2. The SEALs want trainees on a level playing field when it comes to physical condition, natural stamina, and abilities
  3. They don’t want people who cheat on the rules because it becomes a pattern of behavior later on.

Over the last 10 years, SOFREP has covered the navy SEALs and other units of our Special Operations Forces extensively. We don’t shy away from stories when SEALs are caught up in criminal activity like SEAL Team 6 member, SO1 Aaron Howard who was convicted of blackmailing women for nude photos in 2020.

We also reported on the case of navy SEAL, SOC Eddie Gallagher who was accused of murdering a wounded Iraqi insurgent in 2017.  We followed the case extensively and when it looked to us like the prosecution was way out of bounds in the way the case was handled we broke with the head still calling for his head and pointed to the problems with the case we thought suggested undue command influence and mismanagement of the case itself.  Gallagher was acquitted of the charges after a witness given immunity testified on the stand that he was he and not Gallagher who ended the prisoner’s life.

So we were not afraid to look into this story to either confirm or deny the claims that a culture of drug use and cheating existed in BUD/S. Let the chips fall where they may.

The Times story goes on to make some pretty sensational claims, not the least of which was the accusation of Kyle Mullens own mother Regina, who accused the SEALs of inflicting unneeded brutality on her son, saying to the Times,  “They say it’s training, but it’s torture. And then they didn’t even give them the proper medical care. They treat these guys worse than they are allowed to treat prisoners of war.”

 “They killed him,” she told the Times reporter.

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