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Navy to punish 3 officers over death of SEAL candidate

US Navy Seal Training (US Military Videos/Youtube)
September 23, 2023

In a development that puts a spotlight on the grueling world of Navy SEAL training, the Naval Special Warfare Command plans to take disciplinary action against three top officers linked to the tragic death of a SEAL candidate in 2022.

Aspiring SEAL candidate Kyle Mullen, age 24, succumbed to acute pneumonia after undergoing the notoriously challenging initial phase of SEAL training termed “Hell Week” on February 4, 2022.

Capt. Brian Drechsler, Capt. Bradley Geary and Cmdr. Erik Ramey were in pivotal leadership positions when the incident transpired. Rolling Stone initially unveiled the news of the Naval Special Warfare Command’s intent to undertake disciplinary action, noting potential charges of negligent dereliction of duty against the three military leaders.

According to, each of the three officers has previously received letters of reprimand pertaining to Mullen’s death in 2022. While the letters bear no punitive weight, they do render the recipients likely unpromotable. Notably, Drechsler also stepped down prematurely from his role at the Naval Special Warfare Center.

Jason Wareham, representing Capt. Geary, told that his client is contesting this move, hinting at a “dubious legal and factual basis.” The Navy, maintaining a stance of discretion, confirmed they are pursuing “accountability actions for certain individuals.”

READ MORE: Navy to miss recruitment goals by 7,000 sailors

According to, two separate Navy investigations have examined the cause of Mullen’s death. The first, from within the Naval Special Warfare Command, unearthed grave shortcomings, such as inadequate medical attention for recruits and an environment discouraging emergency assistance.

One revealing statement from a sailor suggested that recruits were instructed against seeking emergency care. The probe also linked Mullen’s death to an exacerbated heart condition.

A subsequent investigation by an external Navy entity discovered deeper issues, including unchecked training staff and recruits potentially lying to medical personnel.

Concerns about Geary’s leadership emerged, especially his purported dismissal of recent training challenges and his minimization of veteran SEAL instructors. After the report was released, Geary took his narrative public.

Speaking to “Good Morning America,” Geary described Mullen’s demise as a “perfect storm of factors” and defended his role in the tragic death of the Navy SEAL candidate. In a conversation with Fox News, both Geary and his attorney underscored a lack of prior knowledge about Mullen’s heart condition.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.