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Former Navy SEAL Remi Adeleke explains the worst part of the grueling training for the nation’s elite fighting force

  • Navy SEAL Remi Adeleke discussed the exercise that left him hypothermic.
  • Surf torture is when a SEAL is laid out in freezing cold water as the water crashes down on them
  • Navy SEAL training has come under the microscope following the death of a New Jersey man during drills



Training to become a Navy SEAL is known for being painstaking, difficult and designed to find the best of the best – but for one member, a particular task stands out as the worst.

“It was the most physically and mentally demanding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Navy SEAL Remi Adeleke said of the entire program on the Anything Goes With James English podcast.

But it was a task in the water that was like torture.

“They do this evolution called surf torture where they lay you down,” he said.

‘Even though SEAL training is down south CaliforniaThe Pacific Ocean is ice cold… They lay you on the Pacific, and they just lay there until the people leave.’

Although the average core temperature for a human is 97.1 degrees, Adeleke dropped to 88.7 degrees while completing the exercise.

Navy SEAL Remi Adeleke described training as the ‘most physically and mentally challenging’ part of his life. But there was one part that stood out the most
Surf torture missions are when officers place SEALs in the Pacific Ocean and force them to face pounding and cold waves

Surfing involves the trainees lying on their backs, with their arms linked along the surfboard. The SEALs’ heads are in the water, but they don’t see the waves coming towards them.

The test was designed to increase the SEALs’ mental toughness because each subsequent wave could be the one to drown them.

Once in the water, cadets may be ordered to complete other exercises while wet and cold.

Water torture is just one aspect SEALs face in grueling training.

One aspect of the program that has been in the news is ‘Hell Week’. Adeleke said the program includes a number of activities – many while cold and wet – that involve “torture”.

‘In Seal training there is a week called Hell Week. It starts on Sunday night and ends on Friday morning,’ he said in the podcast.

┬╗Stay awake that time. You sleep two hours on Wednesday and two hours on Thursday, but other than that you’re awake.’

Adeleke remembered the events of Hell Week – the 5 1/2 day operational session that every SEAL must complete during training
Hell’s Week requires exercisers to complete tasks such as swimming in cold water, running in sand, and lifting heavy objects with almost no rest.

Only 25 percent of SEAL recruits make it through the operation, and trainees died during or after the end of Hell Week.

Doctors are always there for all evolutions just in case there’s a trainee emergency, but the death of Kyle Mullen, 24, on February 4, 2022, after Hell Week, prompted the Navy to implement new requirements.

The report was published in October The Naval Special Warfare Command concluded that Mullen, 24, of Manalapan, New Jersey, died ‘in dutynot because of his own bad behavior.’

The Navy’s SEAL training program has been plagued by widespread failures in medical care, poor supervision and the use of performance-enhancing drugs that have increased the risk of injury and death for those aspiring to become elite commandos, according to an investigation by the death of a sailor last year.

The highly critical report said the deficiencies in the medical program “probably had the most direct impact on the health and well-being” of SEAL candidates and “specifically” Mullen.

It said his death could have been prevented if the defects had been rectified.

The investigation also dug deep into the long-standing problem of sailors using steroids and similar banned drugs while trying to pass the SEAL qualification course.

The Navy tested more than 1,000 people after Mullen’s death and found that 30 people used it performance enhancing drugs.

The events resulted in the Navy’s decision to enforce steroid testing for all SEALS this month.

“They keep you cold and wet all the time to the point where towards the end of hell week you become hydrophobic,” said Adelke about hell week.

Created by John F. Kennedy in 1962. the responsibility of the Navy SEALs is to provide immediate military assistance worldwide.

SEALs conduct and complete special warfare or operations missions, conduct missions against military targets, and capture high-value enemy personnel.

One of the Navy SEAL missions that attracted global attention was the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2012 – Al-Queda leader responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

To become a SEAL, you must complete Basic Underwater Destruction School, Skydiving School, SEAL Qualification Training, and complete 18 months of pre-deployment training.

There are currently 2,450 active-duty Navy SEALs, making up just 1 percent of all Navy personnel. Seal training usually takes place in San Diego.

Overview of ‘Hell Week’ and Other Phases of Basic Underwater Destruction/SEAL (BUD/S) Training

Hell week

Hell Week is the fourth week in Phase 1 – which takes place in Phase 3 – and is a brutal week of physical activity and very little sleep.

‘Hell Week is the defining event of BUD/S training,’ says the Navy.

Hell Week consists of five and a half days of cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on less than four hours of sleep. It tests ‘physical endurance, mental toughness, tolerance to pain and cold, teamwork, attitude and your ability to perform under high physical and mental stress and sleep deprivation.’

It starts on Sunday and lasts until Friday.

Exercisers are constantly on the move. They run, swim, row, carry boats on their heads, do log PT, sit-ups, push-ups, roll in the sand, wade in mud, row boats and surf, the Navy said.

On average, only 25 percent of applicants make it through Hell Week, the toughest training offered in the military.

Throughout the week, there will be medical staff on the field to assist exhausted or injured candidates.

Candidates will also experience brutal nagging, tempting them to give up and imitating their inner voices, emphasizing their pain.

Other stages

Phase 1: Preparatory school

Interns start in Illinois for two months to prepare for BUD/S.

Candidates will undergo a modified physical fitness test to prepare for the rigorous activities they will endure during BUD/S.

The test includes:

  • 1000 meter swim – with fins (20 minutes or less)
  • Push-ups: at least 70 (time limit of two minutes)
  • Pull-ups: at least 10 (no time limit)
  • Abs: at least 60 (time limit of two minutes)
  • Four Mile Run – Shoes + Pants (31 minutes or less)

Applicants who do not pass will be transferred to other positions in the Navy.

Phase 2: Basic orientation

Basic orientation lasts three weeks and is held in Coronado, California, at the Naval Special Warfare Center.

Candidates will be introduced to ‘BUD/S physical training, obstacle course and other unique aspects of training’ during this internship.

Phase 3: Phase One (includes Hell Week)

This phase – which includes Hell Week in Week 4 – lasts seven weeks.

It is used to further develop ‘physical training, water skills and mental toughness while continuing to build teamwork.’

Each week, the trainees will experience more difficult conditions, such as longer runs, swims and workouts.

They will also learn how to conduct hydrographic survey operations.

This phase sees a significant drop in candidates.

Phase 4: Second phase – combat diving

This phase also lasts seven weeks and introduces underwater skills unique to Navy SEALs.

Trainees become ‘basic combat swimmers and learn open and closed circuit diving.’

Applicants must be comfortable in the water and demonstrate a high level of comfort.

Phase 5: Ground Warfare Training

The final internship lasts seven weeks and develops skills in ‘basic weapons, demolitions, land navigation, patrolling, landing, marksmanship and small unit tactics.’

Half of this training will take place on San Clemente Island – approximately 60 miles from the base, and they will practice the skills they learned in Stage 3.

Source: Navy

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