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News / Clark County News

Washougal High School graduate one of five Marines killed in helicopter crash

Alec Langen, 23, was crew chief on training flight

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: February 23, 2024, 6:01am
2 Photos
Washougal High School graduate Alec Langen poses for a photograph with his car in his school parking space in 2018.
Washougal High School graduate Alec Langen poses for a photograph with his car in his school parking space in 2018. (Contributed by Alec Langen) Photo Gallery

A 2018 Washougal High School graduate was one of five U.S. Marines killed in a helicopter crash during a training flight in Southern California earlier this month.

Alec Langen, 23, was a crew chief on the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter that crashed Feb. 6, in a mountain range near San Diego.

“I just felt like a hole was ripped through me, because he was like a brother to me,” said Max Churchman, a fellow 2018 Washougal High graduate and one of Langen’s close friends.

Being a Marine “was everything” to Langen, said his mother, Caryn Langen. His parents moved to Arizona after he enlisted.

Langen, a newlywed, lived in Chandler, Ariz., at the time of his death. He planned to take a new assignment and move to North Carolina in April, said Churchman, a staff sergeant currently assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma.

Langen’s helicopter departed from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and was headed to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in the San Diego area, according to Veteran of Foreign Wars Department of Washington Cmdr. Craig Doughtery.

Langen was accompanied by Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kan.; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho; Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, N.H.; and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Mich.

All five of the Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and were based at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, Calif.

Langen was promoted to the rank of sergeant in October 2022.

“His dream was to do this job he was doing as a crew chief since he was 3,” Steve Langen, Alec’s father, told KSAZ-TV in Phoenix. “I did the exact same job in the exact same helicopter.”

“Steve pinned his wings on him when he finished training,” his mother said. “He idolized his father.”

Langen earned several decorations, including Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, a Good Conduct medal, a Global War on Terrorism service medal, a National Defense Service medal, and two Sea Service deployment ribbons, during his tenure as a Marine, according to a news release.