The U.S. Marine Corps has identified the five Marines who were killed after their helicopter crashed Tuesday during stormy weather in San Diego’s East County.
They have been identified as:
- Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kansas, a CH-53E helicopter crew chief.
- Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona, a CH-53E helicopter crew chief.
- Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho, a CH-53E helicopter pilot.
- Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, New Hampshire, a CH-53E helicopter pilot.
- Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Michigan, a CH-53E helicopter pilot.
All were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and were based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
“We have been confronted with a tragedy that is every service family’s worst fear,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, commanding officer of HMH-361. “Our top priority now is supporting the families of our fallen heroes, and we ask for your respect and understanding as they grieve. The Flying Tigers family stands strong and includes the friends and community who have supported our squadron during this challenging time. We will get through this together.”
On Thursday, Col. James Ford of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing told the media fellow Marines have remained vigilant at their side, near the small East County community of Pine Valley. Their remains were and continue to be guarded by brothers and sisters, Ford said.
The five Marines were traveling on the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, flying from Creech Air Force Base in Clark County, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, when it was reported “overdue” Tuesday, the Marine Corps said. They had been conducting unit-level training in Vegas before their return. The mishap is currently under investigation
The last known location of the helicopter came from a ping to Cal Fire’s dispatch center at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Cal Fire sent several engines and an ambulance to the area overnight. The helicopter was found in Pine Valley at around 9:08 a.m. Wednesday, MCAS Miramar said.
The military worked with federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Border Patrol, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the state Civil Air Patrol.
MCAS Miramar sent out additional information about the Marines killed.
Donovan Davis enlisted in the Marine Corps on September 3, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on January 1, 2024. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Alec Langen enlisted in the Marine Corps on September 14, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on October 1, 2022. His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
Alec Langen’s mother sent NBC 7 a statement Thursday confirming that her son was on board the helicopter and said, “We will miss him dearly.”
Benjamin Moulton commissioned in the Marine Corps on March 29, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on August 1, 2023. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
Jack Casey commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 16, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on September 1, 2023. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
Miguel Nava commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 26, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on November 1, 2021. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and first lady Jill Biden are “heartbroken” to learn of the Marines’ deaths.
“Our service members represent the very best of our nation — and these five Marines were no exception,” Biden said. “As the Department of Defense continues to assess what occurred, we extend our deepest condolences to their families, their squadron, and the U.S. Marine Corps as we grieve the loss of five of our nation’s finest warriors.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom also issued a statement:
“California joins the nation in mourning the tremendous loss of these Marines. Jennifer and I send our heartfelt condolences to their families, loved ones, and fellow service members during this painful time. Their dedication to serving our country will always be remembered.”
The flags at the State Capitol and Capitol Annex Swing Space will be flown at half-staff in honor of the Marines.
No other information was available.
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