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Memorial held in Miramar for five Marines killed in helicopter crash

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) — A memorial was held Friday at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in honor of five fallen servicemembers who were killed in a helicopter crash earlier this month.

The crash occurred in southeastern San Diego County, near Pine Valley, after a military helicopter was reported missing Wednesday, Feb. 7. Hours later, the crash site was discovered through search-and-rescue efforts.

All five of the Marines onboard were confirmed dead the following day. They were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW).

On Friday, more than 550 Marines, family and friends gathered to pay tribute to the following fallen servicemembers:

  • Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kansas. He was a CH-53E helicopter crew chief.
    — Donovan Davis enlisted in the Marine Corps on Sept. 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, National Defense Service Medal, and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
  • Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho. He was a CH-53E helicopter pilot.
    — Benjamin Moulton was commissioned in the Marine Corps on Mar. 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, 26, of Dover, New Hampshire. He was a CH-53E helicopter pilot.
    — Jack Casey commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 16, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Sept. 1, 2023.
    — His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
  • Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Michigan. He was a CH-53E helicopter pilot.
    — Miguel Nava commissioned in 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.
  • Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona. He was a CH-53E helicopter crew chief. 
    — Alec 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.

The national anthem played during the memorial ceremony, followed by the presentation of the battlefield crosses — five in total, one representing each Marine.

According to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Capt. Stephanie Leguizamon, a friend and fellow squadron member of each Marine provided remarks. They recounted anecdotes of shared experiences and highlighted the lasting impact each fallen Marine had on their lives.

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, the commanding officer of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, gives remarks during a memorial ceremony honoring five Marines of HMH-361 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Feb. 16, 2024. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Antonio De La Fuente)

Also seen at the memorial were flight helmets, flight gear and boots which rested on Marine Corps service rifles. The items were positioned in front of each Marine’s portrait.

memorial
A U.S. Marine with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, places a flight vest on a battlefield cross in honor of Capt. Miguel Nava during a memorial ceremony honoring the five Marines of HMH-361 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Feb. 16, 2024. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Antonio De La Fuente)

“The 3rd MAW deeply mourns the loss of our Marines and honors their sacrifice, knowing that their spirit and contributions live on within the squadron,” the 3rd MAW noted in a news release about the memorial.


Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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