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Marines killed in this week's California helicopter crash identified -- all 5 in their 20s

UPI
All five Marines killed in a crash of a CH-53E Super Stallion Helicopter (such as pictured in 2005) in California have been identified. The crash happened while the crew was on a routine training mission Tuesday in San Diego County. File Photo by Juan Vara/U.S. Marine Corps

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- All five U.S. Marines killed in this week's California helicopter crash have been identified. All were service members in their 20s.

The wife of Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Ariz., confirmed he was among the dead before the other names were released.

According to a statement from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the other four crash victims included Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kan. He was a CH-53E helicopter crew chief.

The other victims were identified as CH-53E helicopter pilot Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho; Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, N.H., identified as a CH-53E helicopter pilot; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Mich. He also was a CH-53E helicopter pilot.

Sgt. Langen's Dad said his son had just married the love of his life a few weeks before the crash.

"I would give anything to be able to trade places and just have him come home," said Steve Langen.

Langen said he served in the Marines on the same type of helicopter from '86-'95.

Davis was a decorated lance corporal with a Global War on Terrorism service medal, National Defense service medal, and a Sea Service deployment ribbon.

Langen earned 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.

Moulton and Casey received the National Defense service medal.

Nava was awarded the Global War on Terrorism service medal, National Defense service medal and Sea Service deployment ribbon.

"We have been confronted with a tragedy that is every service family's worst fear," said a statement form Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, commanding officer of HMH-361. "Our top priority now is supporting the families of our fallen heroes, and we ask for your respect and understanding as they grieve.

"The Flying Tigers family stands strong and includes the friends and community who have supported our squadron during this challenging time," Harvey said. "We will get through this together."

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew were conducting a routine flight training when the incident happened.

An investigation into the crash is continuing.