EXCLUSIVE - The father of a U.S. SEAL candidate. A Navy SEAL candidate died in 2016 during a training exercise. His family has sent a message to Kyle Mullen, a recently deceased Seaman, amid renewed calls for justice.
"I would like to express my sympathy to Kyle Mullen's loved ones. James Lovelace, Fox News Digital's correspondent, said that no one can understand their situation as well as he can. "I understand what they are going through and what they're about for with the lack information they'll get from the U.S. Navy regarding their son's passing."
Lovelace, 50 years old, is seeking answers to the death of his son James "Derek", who died in a SEAL training exercise in May 2016. Lovelace stated that the U.S. Navy has falsified information about the death of the 21-year old and that officials have never admitted any wrongdoing.
Lovelace stated, "I'm kinda reliving my son’s incident six years back all over again." "It's a sad universe when this is all it takes to get attention for my son: Another young man dying."
Fox News Digital asked Lovelace and Derek's daughter Lynsi Kay Price to respond to the request. Price reconsidered the matter and decided that it would be too painful for her.
Mullen, a 24-year old from New Jersey, was killed after he fell ill at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center, Coronado, California on February 4. Officials claim that Mullen had completed "Hell Week", a notoriously difficult part of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training (BUD/S), but started experiencing unspecified symptoms hours later.
Both he and another SEAL candidate were admitted to local hospitals. According to the Navy, Mullen couldn't be saved. According to reports, the other SEAL candidate was stable.
The Armed Forces Medical Examiner's Office didn't respond to any requests for information regarding Mullen's passing. U.S. Navy spokesperson Lt. Lt. Kara L. Handley, spokesperson for the U.S. Navy, said that Mullen's cause was still unknown and was currently under investigation. She stated that the last remaining SEAL candidate was released from the hospital.
Mullen's family released a statement to Fox News Digital Saturday saying that they were devastated by his loss but "we couldn't be more proud."
"Kyle aspired to serve others, so he enlisted in Navy with the hope of joining the best of them - the Navy SEALs. The statement states that he would not settle for less. "Kyle was exactly where he wanted to be in life when he was with his fellow seamen/warriors/classmates at Coronado. As he worked hard to achieve his goal of passing Hell Week, he was not afraid to fail.
Lovelace never intended to speak against the U.S. Armed Forces. This Crestview man, a long-time Florida resident, joined the U.S. Air Force as a Master Sergeant in 1989 and is now a government contractor.
"I proudly served my country. He said that he takes great pride in giving the war fighters the tools needed to keep our nation safe, so our citizens can rest well at night, and to protect our homeland. "My confidence has been shaken."
He went on: "I am angry. I love my country. My government is not my love."
Although Derek's death has been almost six years ago, his family still feels the loss.
Lovelace stated, "He was an absolute beast of an athlete, and a gym rat... he worked out every single day of his existence." He was full of life. He was a great young man to have around. His dreams and life were taken away from him.
Derek Lovelace died while participating in a Coronado swimming exercise on May 6, 2016. This was during the first week of his six-month SEAL program. The Associated Press obtained a copy the autopsy report. It states that Lovelace was wearing all his gear and a diving mask when he fell into the pool. His lips turned blue and his face turned purple.
He was unconscious, and was eventually pulled from the pool. However, he could not be saved.
The AP reported that camera footage at the facility showed the instructor submerging him in the water at least twice. His death was ruled a homicide in San Diego by the San Diego Medical Examiner's Office. He drowned with contributing factors to his heart.
According to the elder Lovelace, the Navy officials decided not to bring charges against the instructor. He said that nothing was done and that the Navy officials ultimately severed all ties with the Lovelace family.
Lovelace stated that the instructor was allowed to "effectively walk away scot free, while my son lies to rest." He lost the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an Navy SEAL.
Lovelace claims that the Navy invented false medical reasons for his son's death. These included an abnormal artery and an enlarged heart.
"Ironically Derek had to go through extensive medical screenings before he was allowed to join. He said that the SEAL community has to go through more medical screenings than a regular sailor. "This was all falsified."
They also said that Derek wasn't a strong swimmer. However, his obituary describes him as someone who "enjoyed any activity in the water."
He continued, "Again this goes against all they are." "You can't get to BUD/S if you aren't a strong swimmer."
A spokesperson from the U.S. Navy declined comment on Lovelace's passing. Fox News Digital could not obtain a copy from the San Diego Medical Examiner's Office in time to cover this story.
Lovelace stated that safety is no longer the U.S. Navy's "first priority".
"I sent my 21 year-old son to begin his career. He said that I had to trust the Navy SEAL community that my son would be safe and taken good care of. "Parents of young men who choose to follow this path should be aware and willing to accept the risk that your son may never see you again," he said.
He said, "It would have been different if my son was killed in combat." That would be acceptable to me. However, that would be unacceptable on day five of my training.
Lovelace stated that she felt "my heart exploded" after hearing about Mullen's sudden passing.
I had hoped that the training machine would be fixed by my son's passing. It wouldn't have been fixed if another young man died.