Navy seeks blood tests for SEAL candidates to address drugs: report

Navy officials have asked the Pentagon to approve blood tests for SEAL candidates – after the death of 24-year-old New Jersey native Kyle Mullen amid reports of rampant drug use among candidates in the elite unit.

If approved, SEAL candidates would for the first time be required undergo blood tests to detect the presence of a broad range of performance enhancing drugs, including those that cannot be detected in standard urine tests, CNN reported Wednesday.

The Defense Department has not yet ruled on the request, the network said.

A senior naval special warfare officer told CNN on the condition of anonymity that there is “beyond a reasonable doubt that a significant portion of the candidate population is utilizing a wide range of performance enhancing drugs.”

Senior brass in the vaunted naval unit believe drug use during the arduous Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL – or BUD/S – training includes not just human growth hormone but a wide range of other substances, according to the report.

SEAL candidates in drown-proofing training
Request by senior Navy officials follows the death by Kyle Mullen during “Hell Week” in BUD/S.
U.S. Navy
SEAL candidates during BUD/S training
If approved, candidates would for the first time be required undergo blood tests to detect the presence of performance enhancing drugs.
SEAL candidates during BUD/S training
A defense official says blood tests for drugs is viewed as a critical medical measure make sure candidates are picked based on their physical capabilities.

The senior officer told CNN that “when we first heard about possible PED usage we went in extremely fast and extremely hard on testing.”

On Feb. 4, Mullen, of Manalapan, was nearing the final days of “Hell Week,” during the notoriously brutal phase-one training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, near San Diego, when he died.

“Friday morning, after completing Hell Week, he was laid flat on his back on the floor of the barracks, upon a mattress, with his legs up,” Regina, 57, told The Post previously, explaining that it is what all candidates were made to do.

“That was protocol,” she said, adding that she was pushing for policy change that has been nicknamed Kyle’s Reform.

“I want independent oversight for the Navy SEALs,” she said. “It would be for people to be held accountable through independent congressional investigations. Who, for example, told the medical team to go home? I’d like to know that. That person should be accountable. And I also want top-notch medical monitoring, treatment and observation after the men go through the most rigorous training in the world.”

Regina Mullen looks at photo of her son, Kyle
Regina said her son, a Yale grad, refused to quit or drop out of “Hell Week,” no matter how tough it got.
Rachel Wisniewski for the New Yo

The official cause of death was reportedly bacterial pneumonia – though at the time, the Navy said that neither Mullen nor another injured sailor were “actively” training when they became sick, according to CNN.

Regina told The New York Times — which first reported about the broad investigation into BUD/S training — that her son started taking the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra on the advice of other candidates as a possible treatment for swimming-induced pulmonary edema, or SIPE.

A common symptom of the dangerous condition, in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, is coughing up bloody fluid.

“A 19-year-old boy with no medical background looked after him,” Regina told The Post recently about her son.

“Kyle turned blue and spit up blood all over the barracks,” she added, recounting what she had been told by the young man’s mother and father. “Paramedics worked on Kyle for 30 minutes and were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead in a community hospital 30 minutes away.”

A defense official told CNN that blood tests for drugs is viewed as a critical medical measure make sure candidates are picked based on their physical capabilities and without the use of PEDs.

“This isn’t just a question of performance, it’s a question of integrity,” a recent SEAL member told the network, adding that commanders need to know their troops have unimpeachable ethics.

“It has the potential of a catastrophic impact. What else are they willing to do in a combat scenario?” the senior naval officer added.