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5 Marines killed in helicopter crash identified

U.S. Marines. (Giancarlo Mollicone/Marine Corps Air Station Miramar)
February 12, 2024

The five Marines who were killed while conducting a training flight onboard a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter last week have been identified. All five were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The helicopter did not return as expected, prompting a multi-agency search and rescue operation. The helicopter was located on Wednesday of last week.

Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, from Traverse City, Michigan, was commissioned into the Marine Corps in 2017. Married and a new father at the time of his passing, Nava achieved numerous decorations during his time in service and is remembered as a natural leader.

His alma mater, Comstock Park High School, held a moment of silence for Nava during a recent basketball game. Nava played multiple sports at the school and will be remembered as a local hero, according to Up North Live.

“He would come back and talk to our freshmen about the opportunities they’re given, they’re only given once, and you need to make the most of it. I think that’s the platform. He lived it,” said principal Tony Petkus.

Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho, was commissioned into the Marines in 2019. Moulton was a University of Washington graduate who had always dreamed of becoming a pilot. According to Kiro 7, Russel Crandall, Emerald City Boxing Team, coached Moulton during his university boxing career when Moulton stood out as a uniquely driven and positive person.

“To know Ben was to recognize a different kind of drive,” Crandall said. “He managed to stay incredibly positive. Always go back and pick up a teammate who was slowed down.”

Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, New Hampshire, was also commissioned into the Marine Corps in 2019. He is survived by his wife, Emma Lindberg, parents, and siblings. According to Foster’s Daily Democrat, his hometown held a memorial in his honor with Mayor Bob Carrier remarking on Casey’s character.

“Words are tough. I’ve been here all my life, I’ve known all the Caseys…wonderful family, wonderful people. This is a totally dark day for the city of Dover,” Carrier said. “This touches home for all who live here, and then everywhere else. It should not happen like this. But we have to thank and salute Jack for keeping us out of harm’s way.” 

Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona, had celebrated his nuptials with his wife, Casey, just one month prior to the crash. His father, Steve Langen, is a former Marine who served on the same helicopter his son did. According to AZ Central, Langen was a selfless man who lived to serve others.

“He had a big heart for other people,” his wife, Casey, said. “But he also knew when to put his guard up and protect. He always put his family and me first, more than anybody, and he was overall a very generous and loving man, and everyone in his squadron looked up to him.”

Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kansas, was the youngest of the crew on board. According to KCTV 5, Davis was fulfilling his lifelong dream of serving in the Marine Corps.

“He was proud to service in the Marine Corps and loved being a crew chief,” Gregory Davis, his father, said. “He was quiet, soft-spoken, thoughtful and kind.”