The Marine Corps on Friday publicly identified five San Diego-based service members who were killed when their helicopter crashed near Pine Valley this week.
The three pilots and two air chiefs aboard the CH-53E Super Stallion were all in their 20s and had spent approximately five to seven years in the Corps.
Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kan., a crew chief, enlisted in 2019. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and a maritime service deployment ribbon.
Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona, also a crew chief, enlisted in 2017. His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, of service in the Global War on Terrorism, the National Defense Service Medal and two maritime services. Deployment ribbons.
Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Ida., pilot, commissioned in 2019. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
Captain Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, NH, pilot, commissioned in 2019. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Mich., a pilot, was commissioned in 2017. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Ribbon deployment of the maritime service.
The Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
“We were faced with a tragedy that is every military family’s worst fear,” Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, squadron commander, said Friday.
“The Flying Tigers family is strong and includes the friends and community who have supported our squadron during this difficult time,” he added. “We will get through this together.”
The crew was conducting routine flight training – flying from Creech Air Force Base, just outside Las Vegas, to the base in Miramar – when the helicopter crashed during a winter storm Tuesday evening. The wreckage was found near Pine Valley the next morning.
Efforts to recover the Marines’ remains and wreckage in difficult terrain continued Thursday amid difficult weather conditions.
The accident is under investigation.
California Daily Newspapers