Marines Killed Helicopter Crash: A Tragic Loss of Five Heroes

On February 8, 2024, tragedy struck as a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed in a remote area of Southern California, claiming the lives of all five Marines aboard. Engaged in a routine training mission from Nevada to San Diego, the helicopter tragically disappeared amidst a historic storm, later discovered amidst rugged, snow-laden terrain.

While investigations into the crash continue, the loss reverberates deeply. Among those lost were Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, Sgt. Alec Langen, Capt. Benjamin Moulton, Capt. Jack Casey, and Capt. Miguel Nava – dedicated servicemen from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Their ages ranged from 21 to 28, each having served valiantly in varied capacities and deployments. Their passing is mourned not only by their families and comrades but by the nation at large.

Remembering the Fallen Marines

The Marines who perished in the crash were:

– Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, a 21-year-old from Olathe, Kansas, served as a helicopter crew chief. Enlisting in 2019, he recently attained the rank of Lance Corporal. Honored with the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Davis was celebrated by his family as a beacon of humanity, deeply devoted to the Marine Corps and his fellow servicemen.

– Sgt. Alec Langen, aged 23 and hailing from Chandler, Arizona, shared Davis’s role as a helicopter crew chief. Joining in 2017, Langen’s commendations included 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.

Just a month into marriage, Langen’s family fondly remembers him as a “goofy” and “intelligent” individual, mirroring his father’s footsteps as a CH-53 crew chief.

– Capt. Benjamin Moulton, aged 27 and from Emmett, Idaho, served as a helicopter pilot. Commissioned in 2019, his accolades encompassed the National Defense Service Medal. A U.S. Naval Academy alumnus with a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, Moulton was revered by peers and mentors alike for his brilliance and unwavering dedication to aviation.

– Capt. Jack Casey, aged 26 from Dover, New Hampshire, mirrored Moulton’s role as a helicopter pilot. Commissioned in 2019, he too earned the National Defense Service Medal. Praised for his leadership and professionalism, Casey, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate in ocean engineering, left an indelible mark on those around him.

– Capt. Miguel Nava, aged 28, hailed from Traverse City, Michigan, and served as the third helicopter pilot. Commissioned in 2017, Nava boasted accolades including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Revered for his kindness and love for aviation, Nava’s legacy is one of camaraderie and compassion.

Honoring Their Memory

The Marine Corps and the nation paid homage to the fallen Marines through various tributes, including:

– A vigil at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, uniting Marines and civilians in prayer, candle lighting, and shared reminiscences of the departed.

– The lowering of flags to half-staff at the White House, Pentagon, and federal buildings nationwide, accompanied by President Joe Biden’s expressions of condolence and gratitude to the bereaved families and Marine Corps.

– A memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., where dignitaries such as the Secretary of Defense and the Commandant of the Marine Corps delivered heartfelt speeches and presented medals and flags to grieving families.

– Funeral services and interments in the Marines’ hometowns, marked by poignant ceremonies featuring full military honors, Purple Hearts, and Meritorious Service Medals.


The tragic helicopter crash, claiming the lives of five Marines, reverberates as a somber reminder of the perils faced in service to one’s country. Each Marine lost was a beacon of bravery, leaving behind a legacy of honor, courage, and commitment.

As their families grapple with profound loss, the nation stands in solemn gratitude for their sacrifices. Through their memory, their spirit lives on, inspiring future generations of Marines and Americans alike. Their names shall forever be etched in the annals of heroism and valor.

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