5 Marines Missing After Helicopter Goes MIA Confirmed Dead

Five U.S. Marines who went missing during a helicopter trip to California from Nevada have been found dead.

The Marine Corps released a statement Wednesday night confirming the deaths of the Marines. Their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter was found in Southern California on Wednesday afternoon.

They were en route from Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base to California’s Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Tuesday. According to the statement issued by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, “the aircraft was reported overdue.”

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

The Marines did not release the names of the deceased in the statement, though those details were released on Friday. All five were assigned to the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and all were in their 20s.

They include Capt. Miguel Nava, 28; Capt. Jack Casey, 26; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27; Sgt. Alec Langen, 23; and Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21.

All five had decorated careers in the Marines, according to the Friday release, with them being awarded several Global War on Terrorism Service Medals and National Defense Service Medals.

Casey and Moulton were recently promoted to be captains as well.

An investigation into what may have caused the helicopter to crash is still ongoing.

It’s been speculated that weather may have contributed to the crash, as the Southern California region experienced extraordinary weather this week. On Tuesday, tornado warnings were issued for some parts of San Diego County, which is very rare.

The Marines are currently making efforts to recover their remains.

On Friday, Lt. Col. Nicholas Harvey, who is the commanding officer of HMH-361, said the “top priority” is to support the families of these “fallen heroes.”