The mother of a Navy SEAL candidate who died hours after successfully completing the notoriously punishing “Hell Week” said she was “disgusted” to learn that the senior officials involved in the death have so far only received “administrative actions” despite the months that have passed.
More than eight months after Seaman Kyle Mullen died, the 24-year-old’s mother is on a mission now more than ever to get justice for her son and push for greater protections for other Navy SEAL candidates going forward.
“My son can’t die in vain.”
“It’s not just my son that died,” Regina Mullen said as she spoke to Fox News Digital through tears on Thursday. “It’s the men that have permanent severe injuries that are lured into this. I met them, I met the candidates going through it, I met some of their mothers.”
Some of Mullen’s biggest issues with the circumstances surrounding Kyle’s death include the poor treatment and singling out of someone of the candidates – allegedly including her son – as well as the lack of proper medical care.
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“I know what they’re going to be up against,” she went on. “I can’t turn my back on them. And not only that, my son can’t die in vain.”
The Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) officially announced Wednesday that Kyle Mullen died from acute pneumonia with a contributing factor of an enlarged heart. It ruled that Mullen’s death was “in the line of duty, not due to his own misconduct.”
A spokesperson for the NSWC also said the agency had taken “administrative actions” but not disciplinary action against a former commanding officer of the Basic Training Command, the commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, and some senior medical staff.
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The spokesperson would not specify what kind of “administrative actions” were taken. Regina Mullen said the staff members have so far only received letters of censure.
Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, wrote that the agency has a “moral obligation” to learn from Mullen’s death and ensure future candidates’ safety.
But Regina Mullen and her attorney say the Navy has excluded certain information from their investigative reports, whether intentionally or not, and has been caught reporting a number of falsities.
“I’m disappointed still that no one’s really in trouble,” she said. She later added, “I am disgusted. I was disgusted.” She noted that the Navy was still in the midst of a Naval Education and Training Command investigation and that further action could be taken once the probe is complete.
“You can’t just inflict punishment or charges against somebody without all the evidence,” she said. “That’s their explanation right now. So, I said if nobody’s ever in trouble … that will be unacceptable to me. And I would do a march on Washington because this is wrong.”
In a statement provided to Fox News Digital on Thursday, a NSWC spokesperson said the agency’s “deepest sympathy extends to Seaman Mullen’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
“The Navy will continue to provide as much information as possible to the Mullen family while Naval Education and Training Command continues their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Kyle’s death, as well as the broader circumstances that were raised,” the spokesperson added.
‘YOU DID NOT SOUND GOOD’
Kyle Mullen died hours after successfully completing the notoriously grueling Hell Week in California on Feb. 4, 2022. The Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Candidate “was not actively training at the time of his death,” the Navy confirmed in a press release at the time.
He grew up in New Jersey and attended Monmouth University and then Yale University, where he played football and was designated team captain. He left behind a brother in addition to his mother and other loved ones.
READ THE MULLEN FAMILY’S FULL STATEMENT HERE:
Regina Mullen, a nurse still living in the Manalapan, New Jersey, home where she raised her family, spoke to her son consistently throughout SEAL training until “Hell Week,” when the candidates cellphones were taken away.
Two weeks prior, she said, Kyle called her on Jan. 21 to tell her his legs and face were swollen, and he was “spitting up blood,” Mullen recalled. They then video-chatted, at which point Mullen could tell “his entire face was swollen.”
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“He said he was drowning, spitting up blood” during one of the training sessions, Mullen went on. “I said, ‘Well, why don’t you go to medical?’”
“How dare they try to paint a picture and tarnish my son’s reputation?”
She said her son responded, “I can’t. I’ll get trapped.”
“I was begging him to go,” she recalled. Over the course of the next week, Mullen urged her son not to lie flat to ensure proper blood flow.
The next time she spoke to him – just hours before he passed – Mullen said she heard her son was “out of breath. Barely able to speak.”
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“I was screaming at him to call me. ‘FaceTime me. Are you in pain? Do you have broken bones?’ I said to him, ‘Are you in a hospital?’” she remembered. She said he responded: “‘No, mom, I’m fine. Don’t worry. I love you.’”
Regina Mullen provided Fox News Digital with her final text message conversation with her son. On Friday, Feb. 4, at 1:57 p.m. ET, Kyle texted her: “Hell week secured!”
The concerned mother responded: “Please have [redacted] call me. I need to know your condition. You did not sound good.”
Speaking to Fox News Digital on Thursday, she called that text conversation “the last.”
“And then Saturday morning, on the 5th, I get the knock on the door that he’s dead.
‘ALL A LIE’
Holding in her hand a PowerPoint presentation provided by a Navy official involved in the investigation into Kyle’s death, Regina Mullen told Fox News Digital the details in the document were “all wrong.”
She singled out as an example how the Navy is “pushing the narrative of PEDs” or performance-enhancing drugs.
“It has nothing, zero, to do with my son’s death. It’s completely unrelated,” she said. “Ultimately, scientifically proven by, yes, urinalysis, blood work on two toxicologies, and the Navy went a step further and checked his brain matter. Zero evidence of any PEDs.”
She later added: “How dare they try to paint a picture and tarnish my son’s reputation?”
The Naval Special Warfare Command released documents on Wednesday that alleged that Mullen was in possession of performance-enhancing drugs but noted that such substances did not contribute to his death.
But Regina Mullen said she has questioned the Navy on its findings from the start and has been able to “prove” some of her arguments.
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Mullen even took her concerns a step further by enlisting an independent medical examiner to conduct an autopsy on Kyle’s remains.
The independent autopsy found that Mullen’s enlarged heart was an underlying condition rather than a contributing factor, she said. She argued that the Navy was adding the description of an enlarged heart as an underlying condition “to try to paint a different picture: that he caused his own death.”
In a different instance, Mullen said she was told her son was driven from the water in a vehicle as he completed “Hell Week” but was actually seen on video being carried from the Pacific Ocean.
The video, which was provided to Fox News Digital, shows a group of men emerging from the water onto the shore, with one person holding another SEAL candidate whom Mullen identified as her son.
“I caught them again in a completely and total lie,” she said.
She added, “That’s why I keep saying the investigation is all [a] lie, because it’s the military investigating themselves.”
‘WE WANT JUSTICE’
Regina Mullen acknowledged that her activism on behalf of her son came with a dose of animosity from those who don’t agree. She’s received messages from people who have called her “crazy names” or criticized her parenting, she said.
Regardless, she said, she is fighting for a reason.
Kyle, she said, “will not rest in peace. And nor will I rest being alive in peace, until the proper changes are in place.”
Mullen’s attorney, Kevin Uniglicht, described how Kyle showed “clear signs of pneumonia that obviously just got worse and worse.”
“We knew that there was a problem and that they had missed properly diagnosing him on the day that he had passed away,” Uniglicht told Fox News Digital. “But now we have information, and it’s even information that’s provided by the Navy, that clearly they should have known days prior.”
He added: “So, they could have saved him on Wednesday. They could have saved him on Thursday. They could have saved him on Friday morning. And then, even when they didn’t save him those three times, later on that day, when he finished “Hell Week,” they still could have saved him and sent him to the hospital.
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Asked how long he and his client would be fighting on behalf of Kyle, Uniglicht said he believed Regina “never wants to let her son’s name die.”
He said there were three main components that they were hoping to achieve: “One is way more transparency in these investigations. Number two, we want to see change. And the good news is, is that some change has already started … And then also justice. I think we want to see the folks that are responsible answer.”
He added: “Quite frankly, it’s possible that even just today, since Kyle passed away, Kyle may have saved lives just based on his passing … But we want justice.”