Marine from Chandler among 5 killed in Southern California helicopter crash

Feb 9, 2024, 9:50 AM | Updated: 1:35 pm

PHOENIX — A service member from Chandler was among five killed when a military helicopter crashed during a storm in the mountains outside San Diego this week, the Marines confirmed Friday.

The Marines identified the fallen service members as Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler; Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Kansas; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Idaho; Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of new Hampshire; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Michigan.

Families were notified in person while efforts were underway to recover the Marines’ remains on Thursday, according to Col. James C. Ford, operations officer with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

Remembering Sgt. Langen: A tribute to a Chandler native

Sgt. Langen was serving as a crew chief with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Air Wing.

Langen had aspired to join the Marines since childhood, inspired by his father’s military service, his father Steven Langen, told ABC15.

Family also said he just got married in January.

What we know about the San Diego helicopter crash

A CH-53E Super Stallion disappeared late Tuesday while the marines were on their way back to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego from Creech Air Force Base, northwest of Las Vegas. The craft last made contact through a “ping” reported to a Cal Fire dispatch center around 11:30 p.m., when downpours and snow were hitting the area.

The model was designed to withstand tumultuous weather conditions.

The craft was discovered Wednesday morning near Pine Valley, an hour’s drive from San Diego.

An investigation is underway to determine if it was appropriate to send troops into an area heavily impacted by a storm.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Marine from Chandler among 5 killed in Southern California helicopter crash