5 Marines Declared Dead After Tragic Helicopter Crash

Reports of a military helicopter crash on Wednesday ignited speculation about the five Marines on board, but it was not until the following day that officials confirmed that all of the service members were dead.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter was reportedly traveling from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to California’s Marine Corps Air Station Miramar late Tuesday when it crashed. Military Local authorities near San Diego began combing the area on Wednesday, reporting that inclement weather prevented an earlier search. After several hours, the wreckage was discovered, but no information about the Marines was immediately available.

In a statement later in the day, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General Maj. Gen. Michael J. Borgschulte delivered the news of their death.

“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the loss of five outstanding Marines from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and the ‘Flying Tigers’ while conducting a training flight last night,” he confirmed. “These pilots and crew members were serving a calling greater than self and were proud to do so. We will be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service.”

Borgschulte offered the military’s “deepest condolences” to the families of those killed as well as a commitment “to ensuring [their] support and care during this incredibly difficult time.”

The remains of the service members were reportedly found on Thursday and their identities were confirmed the following day.

Ranging from 21 to 28 years old, the deceased were identified — from youngest to oldest — as Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis of Kansas, Sgt. Alec Langen of Arizona, Capt. Benjamin Moulton of Idaho, Capt. Jack Casey of New Hampshire and Capt. Miguel Nava of Michigan.

Although the helicopter was flying in a storm, the official cause of the crash had not been determined as of the latest updates available.

HMH-361 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey described the situation as “every service family’s worst fear” and confirmed that the military’s “top priority now is supporting the families of our fallen heroes,” requesting “respect and understanding” from the public.

“The Flying Tigers family stands strong and includes the friends and community who have supported our squadron during this challenging time,” he added. “We will get through this together.”