The five U.S. Marines who died when their helicopter crashed during a storm in the mountains outside San Diego on Tuesday have been named, the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar announced Friday.
The victims have been identified as Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Kansas and Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Arizona, both of whom were Crew Chiefs. Helicopter pilots Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Idaho, Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of New Hampshire and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Michigan, were also aboard the ill-fated CH-53E Super Stallion and died.
"We have been confronted with a tragedy that is every service family’s worst fear," said Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, commanding officer of the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 (HMH-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 crew were aboard a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter that had departed Creech Air Force Base in Nevada en route to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego on Tuesday night when it crashed.
The last known contact with the Super Stallion was at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, when waves of downpours and snow were hitting the region.
The CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest helicopter in the military and is designed to fly through bad weather, even at night.
A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
At the time of the mishap, the CH-53E and crew were conducting routine flight training.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
Local first responders were first contacted regarding the incident early Wednesday morning. The San Diego Sheriff's Office attempted to send a helicopter to begin the search immediately, but the aircraft was called off due to the "atmospheric river" storm hitting the area.
Harvey said that the fallen Marines had been decorated with various honors.
Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis
Davis enlisted in the Marine Corps on September 3, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on Jan. 1, 2024. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Sgt. Alec Langen
Langen enlisted in the Marine Corps on Sept. 14, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on Oct. 1, 2022. His decorations include 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.
Capt. Benjamin Moulton
Moulton was commissioned into the Marine Corps on March 29, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Aug. 1, 2023. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
Capt. Jack Casey
Casey was commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 16, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on September 1, 2023. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
Capt. Miguel Nava
Nava was commissioned into the Marine Corps on May 26, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Nov. 1, 2021. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
The incident comes roughly two months after a U.S. Air Force Osprey crashed off the coast of Japan in December. All eight crew members aboard the craft were killed in the incident.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and The Associated Press contributed to this report.