The Navy SEAL special operator entre course is for one of the countries military elite groups…
It is NOT easy….
It isn’t supposed to be…
If people come out of the training hurt or dead?
Some may think the cost of getting thru the course is a bit high….
The piece points to candidates resorting to drugs to help them get thru the demanding sessions….
The NY Times takes a look…..
That look will be seen by Congress and the White House…..
And senior Pentagon General’s….
For just as long, the SEAL teams, who perform some of the military’s most difficult missions, including lightning-fast hostage rescues and the killing of high-level terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, have insisted that having a bare-knuckle rite of passage is vital for producing the kind of unflinching fighters the teams need. Without BUD/S, they argue, there could be no SEALs.
Privately, they talk of training casualties as a cost of doing business. A former SEAL, David Goggins, wrote in his memoir about a sailor who drowned during his Hell Week. Soon afterward, he wrote, an instructor told his class: “This is the world you live in. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last to die in your line of work.”
BUD/S is hardly the only dangerous selection course in the military. Many Army Special Forces soldiers and Air Force pilotshave also died in training. But few if any courses have so high a rate of failure.
After Seaman Mullen died, the SEAL teams appeared to try to deflect blame from the course and frame the incident as a freak occurrence. Though Seaman Mullen had coughed up blood for days and had needed oxygen, the Navy announced that he and the man who was intubated were “not actively training when they reported symptoms,” and that neither “had experienced an accident or unusual incident” during Hell Week.
The official cause of death was bacterial pneumonia, but Seaman Mullen’s family says the true cause was the course itself, in which instructors routinely drove candidates to dangerous states of exhaustion and injury, and medical staff grew so accustomed to seeing the suffering that they failed to hospitalize him, or even monitor him, once Hell Week was over.
“They killed him,” his mother, Regina Mullen, who is a registered nurse, said in an interview. “They say it’s training, but it’s torture. And then they didn’t even give them the proper medical care. They treat these guys worse than they are allowed to treat prisoners of war.”
Seaman Mullen’s death immediately resurfaced the old questions about whether the curriculum of intentional hardship goes too far.
And soon those old questions were complicated by something new.
When the Navy gathered Seaman Mullen’s belongings, they discovered syringes and performance enhancing drugs in his car. The captain in charge of BUD/S immediately ordered an investigation, and soon about 40 candidates had either tested positive or had admitted using steroids or other drugs in violation of Navy regulations.
The Navy has not tied the sailor’s death to drugs. The service is expected to release reports on the training death and the drug use in the fall…
SEAL leaders say they don’t have the authority to start a testing program to attack the problem. They formally requested permission from the Navy in June to start testing all candidates but are still awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, the drugs are there.
One young sailor who went through BUD/S in May said that many would-be SEALs had come to believe that the course was too hard to complete without drugs. Despite Seaman Mullen’s death, he said, some sailors were still using illicit performance enhancers — in particular, a group of unregulated supplements called SARMSthat are difficult to detect…
Officers in charge of BUD/S have removed some of the most punishing aspects of the course in recent months, clamping down on pre-dawn workouts and runs with heavy packs. Six hours of sleep a night are now required in all weeks but Hell Week, outside auditors have been brought in to watch instructors, and a higher percentage of sailors are now making the cut….
image…The Balance Careers