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训练残酷、药物泛滥:受训学员之死暴露海豹突击队阴暗面

Death in Navy SEAL Training Exposes a Culture of Brutality, Cheating and Drugs
训练残酷、药物泛滥:受训学员之死暴露海豹突击队阴暗面

CORONADO, Calif. — Kyle Mullen always had the natural drive and talent that made success look easy. Until he tried out for the Navy SEALs.

加州科罗纳多——凯尔·穆伦身上总有一股天生的劲头和才华,看起来非常容易成功。直到他参加了海豹突击队的选拔。

The 24-year-old arrived on the California coast in January for the SEALs’ punishing selection course in the best shape of his life — even better than when he was a state champion defensive end in high school or the captain of the football team at Yale.

今年1月,24岁的他来到加州海岸,参加残酷的海豹突击队选拔课程,他的身体状态正在人生巅峰——甚至比高中时作为州冠军队防守端锋和在耶鲁当橄榄球校队队长时还要好。
 

2018,美国海豹突击队候选人参加BUD/S训练。该图由美国国防部委托拍摄。

But by the middle of the course’s third week — a continual gut punch of physical and mental hardship, sleep deprivation and hypothermia that the SEALs call Hell Week — the 6-foot-4 athlete from Manalapan, New Jersey, was dead-eyed with exhaustion, riddled with infection and coughing up blood from lungs that were so full of fluid that others who were there said later that he sounded like he was gargling.

但在课程进行到第三周时——这一周因要持续承受身心打击、睡眠不足和体温过低而被海豹突击队称为“地狱周”——这位身高1米93、来自新泽西州马纳拉潘镇的运动员筋疲力尽,全身感染,他肺部充满液体,不断咳血,据当时在场的人后来说,他咳得听上去就像在漱口一样。

The course began with 210 men. By the middle of Hell Week, 189 had quit or been brought down by injury. But Mullen kept on slogging for days, spitting blood all the while. The instructors and medics conducting the course, perhaps out of admiration for his grit, did not stop him.

起初有210名男性参加这一课程。到“地狱周”过半的时候,189人要么放弃退出,要么受伤倒下。但穆伦吐着血苦撑了好几天。或许是出于对其坚韧精神的钦佩,教官和医生并没有阻止他继续。

And he made it. When he struggled out of the cold ocean at the end of Hell Week, SEAL leaders shook his hand, gave him a pizza and told him to get some rest. Then he went back to his barracks and laid down on the floor. A few hours later, his heart stopped beating and he died.

他也确实撑了过来。“地狱周”结束时,他挣扎着从冰冷的海水中爬出来,海豹突击队的长官们与他握手,给了他一块披萨,告诉他好好休息。然后他回到营房,躺在了地上。几小时后,他的心脏停止了跳动,就这样死了。

That same afternoon, another man who survived Hell Week had to be intubated. Two more were hospitalized that evening.

同一天下午,另一位熬过“地狱周”的男性不得不进行插管。当晚又有两人住院。

The SEAL teams have faced criticism for decades, both from outsiders and their own Navy leadership, that their selection course, known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUD/S, is too difficult, too brutal, and too often causes concussions, broken bones, dangerous infections and near-drownings. Since 1953, at least 11 men have died.

几十年来,海豹突击队一直备受外界以及海军本身的领导层的批评,因其被称为“基础水下爆破训练”(BUD/S)的选拔课程太过困难和残酷,且经常导致脑震荡、骨折、危险的感染和近乎溺死的体验。自1953年以来,至少有11名男性死亡。

For just as long, the SEAL teams, who perform some of the military’s most difficult missions, including lighting-fast hostage rescues and the killing of high-level terrorists such as 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.

同样在这段时间里,海豹突击队执行了军方最困难的一些任务,包括闪电营救人质和击毙本·拉登等重要恐怖分子,他们坚持认为,要培养出队伍所需的不屈不挠的战士,凶残无情的选拔仪式至关重要。他们辩称,没有BUD/S,就不会有现在的海豹突击队。

Privately, they talk of training casualties as a cost of doing business.

私下里,他们将训练伤亡视为部队运行的代价。

Mullen’s official cause of death was bacterial pneumonia, but his 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.

穆伦的官方死因是细菌性肺炎,但他的家人说,真正的原因就是课程本身。在课程中,教官经常将候选人逼到疲惫和受伤的危险状态,医务人员也熟视无睹,所以才会在“地狱周”结束后没有让他住院,甚至连监护都没有。

“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.”

“是他们杀了他,”他的母亲雷吉娜·穆伦在接受采访时说,她是一名注册护士。“他们说那是训练,但其实是折磨。他们甚至不给他们适当的医疗护理。他们对待这些人的方式比对战俘还要恶劣。”

A New Complication

一个新麻烦


Mullen’s death immediately resurfaced the old questions about whether the curriculum of intentional hardship goes too far.

穆伦之死立刻让关于故意刁难学员的课程是否太过分的老问题被重新提及。

And soon those old questions were complicated by something new.

这些老问题很快也因为新情况而更加复杂化。

When the Navy gathered 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.

在收集穆伦遗物时,海军在他的车中发现了注射器和表现增强药物。负责BUD/S的队长立即下令进行调查,很快就有大约40名候选人要么检测出阳性,要么承认使用了类固醇或其他违反海豹突击队规定的药物。

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. A Navy spokesperson declined to comment on Mullen's death or on allegations of widespread drug use, saying it would be inappropriate to do so before the reports are released and Mullen’s family is briefed on their findings.

海军并未将这位水兵之死与药物联系起来。军方预计将在今年秋天发布关于这起训练死亡和药物使用的报告。海军发言人拒绝对穆伦之死和药物使用泛滥的指控置评,称在公布调查报告并将结果告知穆伦家人之前,这么做是不合适的。

Still, the prevalence of drugs at BUD/S has some men in the top reaches of the SEALs deeply unnerved.

尽管如此,BUD/S中的药物泛滥还是让海豹突击队的一些高层深感不安。

Without comprehensive testing, there is no way to assess the full extent of the drug use in the program. But more than a dozen current and former candidates described a culture in which drugs have become deeply embedded in the selection course over the past decade.

没有全面的检测,就不能评估该项目中药物滥用的严重程度。但十几名现役和前任候选人都描述了一种风气,那就是在过去十年间,药物使用已经深深融入了整个选拔课程之中。

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.

海豹突击队的主官们表示,他们无权展开检测项目来解决此问题。今年6月,他们正式向海军提出申请,要求开始检测所有候选人,但目前仍在等待答复。

Meanwhile, the drugs are there.

与此同时,药物使用一切照旧。

The Navy has made hundreds of changes over the years meant to improve safety and increase graduation rates. But no matter how much the Navy has tried to make BUD/S easier, it seems to only get harder.

多年来,海军尝试了无数改变,想要增加安全性,提升毕业率。但无论海军为简化BUD/S付出了多少努力,这一训练似乎只有越来越难。

In the 1980s, about 40% of candidates graduated. Over the past 25 years, the average has dropped to 26%. In 2021, it was just 14%, and in Mullen’s class this year, less than 10%.

上世纪80年代,能毕业的候选人比例约为40%。而在过去25年间,平均毕业率下降到了26%。2021年,这一比例仅有14%。今年穆伦这一届还不到10%。

A Second Attempt

第二次尝试


When Mullen started BUD/S in January, it was his second attempt. His first try was in August 2021, and he had spent more than a year running, swimming and lifting weights to prepare. He lasted less than a day.

在穆伦在1月开始BUD/S时,那已经是他的第二次尝试了。第一次是在2021年8月,为了那次选拔,他花了一年多时间训练跑步、游泳和举重。结果他一天都没坚持下来。

Instructors call the first three weeks of BUD/S the attrition phase, a maw of punishing exercise, frigid water and harassment meant to wash out anyone lacking strength, endurance and mental fortitude — individuals the instructors derisively call “turds.”

教官们将BUD/S的前三周称为消耗期,充斥着残酷的训练、冰水和折磨,意在淘汰任何缺乏力量、耐力和毅力的人,这些人会被教官嘲讽为“废物”。

That first day, the instructors put candidates through a gantlet of running, crawling, situps and pushups on the hot sand with no breaks, Mullen’s mother said. Late in the afternoon, the men were racing in teams, carrying 170-pound inflatable boats over their heads, when Mullen passed out.

穆伦的母亲说,教官们在课程第一天就让候选人在滚烫的沙滩上饱受跑步、爬行、仰卧起坐和俯卧撑的折磨,还不准他们休息。当天下午晚些时候,这些男性还要头顶77公斤重的充气艇分组赛跑,而穆伦正是在那时昏迷了过去。

He called his mother from an ambulance a short time later and explained that he had not had a drop of water all day. When he fell, he told her, an instructor hurled insults at his limp body and told him to get up. When he did not respond, medics measured his temperature at 104 degrees and sent him to the hospital with heatstroke.

昏迷后不久,穆伦在救护车上给母亲打了电话,解释说他一整天都没喝过一滴水。他告诉她,自己昏倒时,一名教官对着他瘫软的肢体大骂一通,让他站起来。看他没有反应,医务人员量出他的体温达到40度,才将中暑的他送往医院。

Mullen was assigned to an internal recovery unit, where he had four months to mend before a second attempt at BUD/S.

穆伦被分配到一个内部康复小组,在那里他有四个月的时间恢复状态,然后就要再次接受BUD/S的考验。

During his four-month wait, his mother recalled, Mullen started talking to her about performance-enhancing drugs.

他的母亲回忆说,在等待的四个月里,穆伦开始和她谈论提高身体表现的药物。

Men he met in the recovery unit were using steroids and human growth hormone, he told her, and he was considering it. He told her he would have to buy a used car as a place to stash the drugs.

他告诉她,他在康复病房遇到的人使用类固醇和人类生长激素,他正在考虑这样做。他告诉她,他得买一辆二手车藏药物。

“In all his years playing sports, he had never touched that stuff,” she said. “I told him not to do it. But he ended up getting the car and sharing it with a bunch of guys.”

“他搞体育那些年里从来没碰过那种东西,”她说。“我告诉他不要这样做。但他最后还是弄了那辆车,和一群人合用。”

Outfoxing the Course

以智取胜过关


In a perverse way, the drug problem at BUD/S is a natural outgrowth of the mindset the SEALs try to cultivate, according Benjamin Milligan, a former enlisted SEAL who recently published a history of the force, “Water Beneath the Walls.”

前海豹突击队队员本杰明·米利根说,BUD/S的用药问题是海豹突击队想培养的心态所带来的自然结果,只不过是以一种不当的方式。米利根最近出版了一本关于海豹突击队历史的书《墙下之水》(Water under the Walls)。

The SEALs want operators who can find unconventional ways to gain an advantage against the enemy, he said in an interview.

他在接受采访时表示,海豹突击队需要的是那些能够找到非常规方法,以便获得对敌优势的人选。

“You want guys who can solve problems in war, guys who know how to play dirty, because war is a dirty game,” he said.

“你需要的是那些能在战争中解决问题的人,那些知道该怎么耍花招的人,因为战争是一场肮脏的游戏,”他说。

An often heard unofficial adage in the SEALs holds that, “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”

在海豹突击队中有一句经常听到的非官方格言:“如果你没有作弊,说明你不够努力。”

During BUD/S, he said, the “enemy” to be outfoxed is the course itself.

他说,在BUD/S期间,需要智取的“敌人”是课程本身。

“No one can do everything the instructors ask, so you have to learn how to cheat to get through,” he said. “Everyone knows it happens. The point is to learn how to not get caught.”

“没有人能做到教官要求的一切,所以你必须学会靠作弊通过考试,”他说。“每个人都知道会发生这种事。关键是要学会怎么才能不被抓到。”

“Basically, you are selecting for guys who are willing to cheat,” he added. “So, no surprise, guys are going to turn to drugs.”

“基本上,你是在挑选那些愿意作弊的人,”他还说。“所以,毫无疑问,人们会去找药物帮忙。”

In the months since Mullen’s death, the family has pushed for accountability. The military is shielded by law from wrongful death lawsuits. Instead, Mullen’s mother says her goal is to have Congress impose independent oversight on BUD/S.

穆伦去世后的几个月里,他的家人一直在推动问责。军方受到法律保护,无法对其提起非正常死亡诉讼。穆伦的母亲转而表示希望让国会对BUD/S实施独立监督。

Officers in charge of BUD/S have removed some of the most punishing aspects of the course in recent months, clamping down on predawn 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.

最近几个月,BUD/S的负责人取消了该课程中一些最严厉的规定,减少了黎明前的锻炼以及负重跑步。现在,除了“地狱周”外,其他日子都要求每晚睡六个小时;外部审查员被请来观察教官;现在有更高比例的水兵成功晋级。

But on the beach, sailors say, the problems continue. A month after Mullen died, there was another close call. After late-night training in the frigid surf, one sailor — cold, wet, hungry and exhausted — started shivering violently, then became unresponsive while huddled in the arms of another sailor who was trying to keep him warm, according to two sailors who were there.

但水兵们说,在海滩上,问题依然存在。穆伦死后一个月,又发生了一次险情。据当时在场的两名水兵说,在寒冷的海浪中进行深夜训练后,一名又冷又湿又饿又累的水兵开始剧烈颤抖,然后蜷缩在另一名试图给他保暖的水兵的怀里,失去了知觉。

The sailors immediately called the BUD/S medical office, but they said there was no answer. They put their classmate in a hot shower, called 911 and were able to get him civilian medical help.

水兵们立即打电话给BUD/S医务室,但他们说没有人接电话。他们给这名学员洗了个热水澡,拨打了911,让他获得民用医疗帮助。

The next morning, the two sailors said, instructors let the class know they were not happy. To punish them for calling 911, the sailors said, the instructors made the class do long bouts of pushups. Whenever anyone dropped from exhaustion, instructors made the man who had been treated at the hospital for hypothermia plunge again into the cold surf.

第二天早上,两名水兵说,教官表示很不满。水兵们说,为了惩罚他们拨打911,教官让他们做长时间的俯卧撑。每当有人因疲惫而倒下,教官就会让那个因体温过低而在医院接受治疗的人再次跳入冰冷的海浪中。
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