The Marine Corps has officially released the identities of the five Marines tragically killed in a helicopter crash amidst a historic storm near San Diego. All victims were in their twenties at the time of the incident.
The distinguished Marines were part of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, belonging to Marine Aircraft Group 16 within the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
In a statement addressing the devastating loss, Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, commanding officer of the squadron, expressed the profound impact of the tragedy on the military community. He emphasized the strength of solidarity within the squadron and extended gratitude to friends and supporters during this trying period.
Among the fallen Marines was Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, aged 21, from Olathe, Kansas, who had recently been promoted to the rank of lance corporal on New Year’s Day. The eldest of the group was Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, hailing from Traverse City, Michigan.
Lance Cpl. Davis and Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, from Chandler, Arizona, served as crew chiefs, while the remaining individuals were CH-53E pilots. The families of the deceased expressed their profound grief, with Caryn Langen, Sgt. Langen’s mother, sharing fond memories of her son with KNSD-TV of San Diego.
The ill-fated CH-53E Super Stallion disappeared late Tuesday evening en route from Creech Air Force Base to Miramar. The wreckage was discovered the following morning near Pine Valley, a mountainous region, amid adverse weather conditions. Col. James C. Ford, operations officer with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, confirmed the tragic outcome on Thursday and disclosed ongoing efforts to retrieve the remains, a process expected to endure for weeks due to challenging terrain and inclement weather. Meanwhile, Marines remain steadfastly committed to their ethos, maintaining a continuous presence with the fallen comrades, ensuring no Marine is left behind. The military has initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.