A congressional provision designed to improve health care and oversight for military trainees — one named after Kyle Mullen of Manalopan, who died during Navy SEAL training earlier this year — took a big step closer to becoming law Thursday.
That should give Kyle’s mother, Regina Mullen, at least some comfort.
But a more serious issue loomed on Regina’s radar, sending the longtime Manalopan resident’s stomach into knots. The results of the Navy chain of command investigation are expected this month. She is convinced that Capt. Brad Geary, the commander in charge of Mullen’s SEAL training, will not only avoid disciplinary action beyond the reprimand he has already received, but will also remain in line for a promotion by the review board that hears such matters.
“What I expect from them and what I want to do are different things,” Regina told the Asbury Park Press. “I want people put on trial and removed from office, starting at the top.”
‘My Hero’:Manalapan mom honors son Kyle Mullen at funeral after Navy SEAL training death
Kyle Mullen, a former Manalopan High School football and basketball standout who later played football at Yale and Monmouth universities, died Feb. 4 in San Diego, hours after completing the grueling part of SEAL training known as “Hell Week.” A a military autopsy revealed the cause of death was pneumonia and revealed the 24-year-old was not treated until it was too late.
“This sailor had completed a week of hell and was being cared for by non-medical personnel to assist with his basic needs,” the autopsy report said. “Most of the time he was in a wheelchair, unable to stand or walk on his own. He reportedly coughed/spit out a red-tinged liquid that nearly filled the 36-ounce container. bottle of sports drink.”
In several interviews with the Asbury Park Press, Regina Mullen reiterated her concern that this was not an isolated tragedy, but the product of a systemic failure — that the lack of medical care for SEAL candidates is part and parcel of the training process. That concern was echoed by another Navy SEAL candidate, who told the press that he too almost died due to a lack of medical attention after being eliminated from Hell Week.
Exclusive:Manolapan’s mom reacts to more partial responses to SEAL son’s ‘Hell Week’ death.
In July, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, whose district includes Manalapan, wrote an amendment titled “Kyle Mullen’s Navy Security Enhancement” to add to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2023. The amendment “directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct an evaluation and provide recommended policies to improve the medical care and supervision of individuals in the Navy engaged in intensive training, such as Navy SEALs, to better ensure the safety of Sailors and prevent associated long-term injury, disease, and death,” Smith explained in remarks to the floor of the house.
The measure was passed by the Senate as part of a revised version of the defense bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives for a second time on Thursday and is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks.
Smith and Kim:New Jersey lawmakers decry 7-month ‘collapse’ in investigation into death of Navy SEALs Manalopan
“Inspired by his tenacious mother, Regina, a nurse who knows her son’s death could have been prevented if he had received timely medical attention, this law will help protect the lives of brave men and women like Kyle who strive to serve our great nation in some cases. of his most dangerous missions,” Smith said in a statement.
Regina Mullen is grateful for the correction but said she was shocked to learn through her connections in the SEAL community that Geary, who was reassigned in the spring as commander of the Navy’s Special Warfare Base Training Command and reprimanded in October for the death of Kyle Mullen at his hour – can still be raised. For her, that doesn’t bode well for reforming SEAL training.
“They never prosecuted anyone,” she said. “That’s why it escalated not only to the death of my son, but to the serious, long-term injuries of some other young people.”
Jerry Carino is a community columnist for the Asbury Park Press, focused on the Jersey Shore’s interesting people, inspiring stories and pressing issues. Contact him at email@example.com.