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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

27-year-old Idaho Marine Corps captain among 5 killed in California helicopter crash

Captain Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho was among the 5 Marines killed in a CH-53E helicopter crash in California.  (3rd Marine Air Wing/Facebook)
By Nicole Blanchard The Idaho Statesman

A 27-year-old Emmett man has been identified as one of five U.S. Marine Corps members killed in a helicopter crash in California earlier this week.

Capt. Benjamin Moulton was one of three helicopter pilots aboard a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion that went down during a historic winter storm sometime late Tuesday night. According to a Marine Corps news release, Moulton joined the Corps in 2019 and had been awarded a National Defense Service Medal.

The other Marines that died in the crash were Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kansas; Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona; Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, New Hampshire; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Michigan.

Marine Corps officials said in a news release that the men were on a “routine training flight” from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego when the helicopter was reported overdue. The aircraft is a heavy-duty helicopter often used in bad weather.

The downed helicopter was found in the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest near a small unincorporated community called Pine Valley on Wednesday morning. The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear. Military officials said the incident is under investigation.

After the men were identified Friday, several Idaho elected officials offered sympathy to Moulton’s family. Gov. Brad Little ordered flags to half-staff until sunset Feb. 13 in Moulton’s honor.

“Capt. Benjamin Moulton and the four other U.S. Marines killed Tuesday gave everything for our country and our freedom,” Little said in a news release. “The tragic news of their deaths while they were training to fight our enemies weighs heavy on our hearts.”

Little — who is also from Emmett — said in his statement that Moulton’s family had deep roots in Idaho dating back to the 1880s.

All four members of Idaho’s congressional delegation also offered their condolences to the Moulton family in statements shared on social media Friday.