5 Marines Killed in California Helicopter Crash Recognized as Households Grieve

The Marine Corps has recognized 5 service members who had been killed after their CH-53E Tremendous Stallion helicopter crashed in Southern California on Tuesday.

Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21; Sgt. Alec Langen, 23; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27; Capt. Jack Casey, 26; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, died when their plane went down close to a mountainous a part of the state east of San Diego throughout a routine coaching flight, in keeping with the service.

They had been flying from Creech Air Drive Base, Nevada, to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, after they crashed about 80 miles from their vacation spot. All three officers had been pilots, whereas Davis and Langen had been crew chiefs.

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The Marine Corps notified the members of the family of the deceased within the days following the incident as fellow Marines guarded their stays in a single day throughout restoration efforts and inclement climate.

Army.com spoke to Langen’s household Friday. By means of tears, they remembered the clever, “goofy” younger man who was vigorous, constructed army constructions out of Legos when he was little, and was pushed to hitch the Marine Corps due to his dad.

“He love the Marine Corps,” Langen’s father, Steve — who additionally served as a CH-53 Tremendous Stallion crew chief — advised Army.com. “He all the time stated that is what he desires — what Daddy did — and he did it, and he did it higher.

“And being part of this tragic accident with 4 fellow Marines, we’re restful in realizing that he wasn’t alone and that he was with the individuals he cared about most … He was together with his brothers,” Steve Langen added.

Langen, who can be survived by his mom, brother and sister, had been married for less than a month when he was killed, his household stated.

“I seemed as much as him in so some ways,” stated Langen’s sister, Elizabeth. She recalled driving up with him to his latest marriage ceremony, listening to Zach Bryan nation music, a reminiscence she stated she’s going to cherish. “We had lots of life plans and issues he was purported to be there for. However he taught me learn how to dwell; he taught me so many issues that I am going to cherish without end.”

His household stated his seventeenth birthday current to himself was arranging for his mother and father to satisfy a Marine recruiter. They advised Army.com the identical recruiter known as them Friday to supply help, one thing they stated the Marine Corps has been offering generously.

“Alec is sitting on the again of a CH-53 over the ocean and he is waving again on the digicam and we simply choose to consider him as saying, ‘I’m OK and also you’ve received this and also you’re superb and I’m OK,’ Caryn Langen advised Army.com. (Picture courtesy Langen household)

Army.com additionally spoke with Capt. Miguel Nava’s father on Friday. He stated that the Corps has additionally been offering help to his household within the aftermath of the incident.

“Miguel was an excellent human being, pushed,” Javier Nava advised Army.com. “He was dedicated to his spouse and son, and household — mother and pa and brother. … He was simply a fully stunning human being.”

Nava, who was from Traverse Metropolis, Michigan, joined the Marine Corps in 2017 and was awarded the World Struggle on Terrorism Service Medal, Nationwide Protection Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Javier Nava stated that his son all the time wished to fly, and that the Marine Corps was a venue to try this after he had graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.

“He was a wonderful American and dedicated to his nation as effectively,” he stated of his son.

Army.com tried to contact the family members of all of the deceased, however may attain solely the Langen and Nava households on Friday. All 5 service members belonged to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, a subordinate unit to the third Marine Plane Wing out of California. The squadron goes by the title “Flying Tigers.”

“We have now been confronted with a tragedy that’s each service household’s worst worry,” Lt. Col. Nicholas Harvey, commanding officer of HMH-361, stated in a press release Friday. “Our high precedence now could be supporting the households of our fallen heroes, and we ask to your respect and understanding as they grieve.”

“The Flying Tigers household stands sturdy and contains the chums and group who’ve supported our squadron throughout this difficult time. We are going to get by way of this collectively,” he added.

The incident is at the moment beneath investigation.

The doomed Tremendous Stallion’s final recorded location was round 11:30 p.m. Tuesday native time, Mike Cornette, a spokesperson for the California Division of Forestry and Fireplace Safety, advised Army.com. Open supply flight monitoring knowledge reviewed by Army.com confirmed the Tremendous Stallion — which had operated beneath the decision signal Tiger 11 — flying west towards San Diego when it ceased reporting late Tuesday.

Early the following morning, the San Diego Sheriff’s Division received a name that the Tremendous Stallion was reported “overdue” at MCAS Miramar. Search and rescue efforts started inside hours of notification, and had been made tough by snow and rain within the space, a division spokesperson stated. The search effort included parts from the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Border Patrol, San Diego County Sheriff’s Division, and Marine Corps fixed- and rotary-wing plane.

The wreckage of the Tremendous Stallion was positioned at 9:08 a.m. native time Wednesday. The 5 Marines had been confirmed deceased the next day.

“Their fellow Marines have remained by their aspect as Marines do and took shifts all through the evening on the mishap website, maintaining watch over our fallen regardless of the hazardous climate circumstances,” Col. James Ford, operations officer with third Marine Plane Wing, stated Thursday evening in a press release to reporters. “Our fellow Marines had been and proceed to be guarded by their brothers and sisters.”

The Tremendous Stallion helicopter has been concerned in a number of high-profile and lethal crashes since its introduction to the army within the Eighties. In 2016, two Tremendous Stallions crashed into one another off the coast of Hawaii, killing 12 complete service members. Two years later, 4 Marines from the third MAW had been killed when their helicopter crashed in California.

Since 2012, the CH-53E Tremendous Stallion has been concerned in 16 “Class A” mishaps, in keeping with knowledge supplied to Army.com by the Navy Security Heart on Friday, which means the incident killed or completely disabled a service member, or that harm to Pentagon property exceeded $2.5 million. The variety of Class A incidents involving the CH-53E Tremendous Stallion within the final decade was first reported by Marine Corps Instances.

Army.com requested the Marine Corps whether or not it nonetheless has confidence within the airframe.

“Sure,” Capt. Alyssa Myers, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps stated. “The CH-53E Tremendous Stallion is a extremely succesful army plane that presents versatility throughout a variety of operations. Presently, our precedence is offering help to the households of our fallen Marines. Our deepest condolences exit to the households and buddies of all these impacted by this tragedy.”

Davis, a Kansan, joined the Marines in 2019 and was promoted to lance corporal final month. He earned a Sea Service Deployment ribbon, amongst different awards.

Moulton, who’s from Idaho, and Casey, of New Hampshire, commissioned into the Marine Corps in 2019. They had been each promoted to captain mid-2023, and every had obtained the Nationwide Protection Service Medal.

President Joe Biden stated Thursday that he and first woman Jill Biden are “heartbroken on the loss” of the 5 Marines.

“Because the Division of Protection continues to evaluate what occurred, we prolong our deepest condolences to their households, their squadron, and the U.S. Marine Corps as we grieve the lack of 5 of our nation’s best warriors,” the assertion stated.

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin supplied an analogous sentiment and stated that, “because the Marine Corps investigates this lethal crash, it’s one more reminder that throughout our nation and the world our selfless service members put their lives on the road each day to maintain our nation protected.”

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