The five U.S. Marines who died when their helicopter crashed in a mountainous region in southern California on Tuesday have been identified by the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar.
The victims were identified as Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Kansas; Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Arizona; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Idaho; Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of New Hampshire; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Michigan, Fox News reported. Davis and Langen, the youngest members of the crew, were both crew chiefs, while Moulton, Casey, and Nava were helicopter pilots.
“We have been confronted with a tragedy that is every service family’s worst fear,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, who leads the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 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.”
The five deceased Marines from the CH-53E helicopter mishap on February 6, 2024, have been identified.
Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis
Sgt. Alec Langen
Capt. Benjamin Moulton
Capt. Jack Casey
Capt. Miguel Nava
— Camp Pendleton (@MCIWPendletonCA) February 9, 2024
The 21-year-old Davis enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2019 and was promoted to Lance Corporal just last month. He was decorated with the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Langen was promoted to sergeant in 2022 after enlisting in the Marine Corps five years earlier. He was decorated with 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.
Moulton joined the Marines in 2019 and worked his way to the rank of captain by August 2023. The 27-year-old was awarded a National Defense Service Medal. Casey joined the Marine Corps in May 2019 and was promoted to captain a little over four years later. He also received a National Defense Service Medal. Nava became a Marine in May 2017 and was promoted to captain in November 2021. He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter transporting the five Marines from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego went missing on Tuesday. The helicopter was reported as “overdue,” prompting a search and rescue operation before authorities with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the Civil Air Patrol found the helicopter in a snowy mountainous region on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.
Hours later, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing announced that all the Marines on board the helicopter were dead.
“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and the ‘Flying Tigers’ while conducting a training flight last night,” Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte said in a statement. “These pilots and crewmembers were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so.”
The cause of the deadly crash is being investigated, but the helicopter reportedly encountered bad weather before it was last heard from at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.