Tear gas video launches investigation into Navy SEAL selection syllabus

According to a video obtained by CBS News, Navy SEAL recruits on San Clemente Island, California, were blanketed in a cloud of tear gas when ordered to sing “Happy Birthday” so that they could hold their breath during training last year. Can you Exposure to tear gas is a standard part of seal training – but the video raised questions about how the training was carried out.

When he saw the video, the Admiral in-charge of the Navy Seal ordered an inquiry. He told CBS News that it raises questions about the “legality of the behavior.”

The investigation is investigating whether the gas was administered too close to a threshold for too long. It is also looking into whether the trainers were not aware of proper procedures or whether they meant to abuse or punish SEALS, which could be a criminal offence.

Tear gas is a right of passage for nearly all military recruits, usually when they are taught how to wear a face mask properly and what happens if they don’t. But rules for the use of tear gas in SEAL training require trainers to be at least six feet away from recruits to avoid the risk of burns and to use the gas for more than 15 seconds.

The video shows the gas lasting more than a minute and the recruits, who have already proven themselves tough enough to complete two-thirds of the selection course, are crying out in pain. There appears to be a pass out, which the rules warn about what happens when you try to hold your breath.

“I think this type of training is really silly,” said Sven Jordt, associate professor at Duke University who studies tear gas and its effects. “It looks like a form of haze.”

The video was obtained by investigative reporter Matthew Cole, author of “Code Over Country,” a recent book about SEAL Team Six.

“I got this video from some SEAL students who are trying to be SEALs and they thought the instructor and SEAL were disrespectful and very careless with their health,” Cole told CBS News.

The video raises more questions about the misbehavior faced by SEAL candidates during the grueling selection process.

Last month, the Navy ordered an inquiry into the selection syllabus. Seal candidate Kyle Mullen dies, who had just made it through the infamous “Hell Week”. Mullen died of pneumonia, which his mother attributed to the time he was submerged in cold water off the coast of Southern California during Hell Week.

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