Former HS teammates remember NJ man who died after Navy Seal ‘Hell Week’
Kyle Mullen – the 24-year-old New Jersey man who died after Navy Seal training - is being remembered for his competitive fire and desire to serve.
Mullen died on Friday, the same day he completed the so-called Navy Seal “Hell Week.” It was a week of grueling training where recruits are pushed to the brink.
Mullen’s old teammates are taking it upon themselves to honor him by spraying his old jersey number and initials on the football field and coming together to share their stories.
“He loved challenges because he always came out on top,” says former teammate and best friend Joey Mendez.
Mendez says he spoke to Mullen the night before Hell Week began. He wished him luck and said, “I love you.”
“I didn’t hear from him all week and I knew that was a good thing I didn’t hear from him. He was still going strong and he was still kicking butt,” Mendez says.
He says that Mullen never wanted a career sitting at a desk and had a desire to serve.
Navy Seals are elite soldiers. Training includes an excruciating test of physical and mental trauma. At least half of the recruits do not make it past Hell Week.
The Navy says that Mullen became sick after finishing.
At 6 feet, 4 inches tall, Mullen towered over his competition at Manalapan High School. He helped the school win its first and only state title. Dan Anerella threw the pass to Mullen.
“It hurts that we lost one of our brothers today. It hurts today. It hurt Saturday when we found out and it’s not getting any easier, you know?” Anerella says.
The last SEAL candidate to die during the assessment phase was 21-year-old Seaman James Derek Lovelace in 2016. He was struggling to tread water in full gear in a giant pool when his instructor pushed him underwater at least twice. He lost consciousness and died.
Mullen joined the Navy in March 2021, according to his Navy biography. He reported to SEAL training in Coronado in July.
Gov. Phil Murphy said that Mullen represented the very best New Jersey has to offer.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.