The US Navy has ordered an independent investigation into the Navy SEAL screening course following the death of a sailor during the program, according to a New York Times report.
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William K. Lescher called for the investigation in a letter obtained by the newspaper.
The investigation will focus on the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALS Course (BUD/S), examining its safety measures and drug testing protocol as well as the qualifications of medical personnel assigned to the program.
Many sailors have been found to use performance-enhancing drugs to get through BUD/S, especially during what is known as “Hell Week”, the most intense part of the selection course where the sailors are experiencing dire physical conditions, according to the Times.
August. The January 31 letter also directed investigators to review changes made since Kyle Mullen’s death in February. Mullen was a Navy sailor who died after being sent to a hospital in San Diego shortly after Hell Week.
An unnamed Navy official told The Times that the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), home to the SEALs, also investigated Mullen’s death before their investigation was halted.
Leaders found that the NSWC report placed too much responsibility on Mullen rather than highlighting flaws in the SEAL training program, according to the official.
The letter says Special Warfare Command will refocus its investigation into Mullen’s death in the line of duty, but leave other matters to independent investigators.
“The Navy remains committed to transparency and ensuring that final reports are complete, accurate, impartial, and that trust and credibility are maintained throughout the process,” he told The Times.
The Hill contacted the Navy for further comment on the investigation.
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