Traverse City News and Events

TC Pilot Killed in Marines Helicopter Accident

By Beth Milligan | Feb. 9, 2024

A Traverse City helicoper pilot was among five Marines killed in a helicopter crash Tuesday in California, the U.S. Marine Corps confirmed Friday. 

Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, was a CH-53E helicopter pilot and among the victims of what the Marine Corps has described as a "helicopter mishap." Five Marines were in a CH-53E Super Stallion that went missing Tuesday during a routine training mission flying from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California. The aircraft was found Wednesday in a remote area of Southern California. The cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

The other victims of the crash included Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kansas; Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Arizona; Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho; and Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, New Hampshire.

According to the Marine Corps, Miguel Nava commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 26, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on November 1, 2021. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Born in Traverse City, Nava grew up in Comstock Park and graduated from Comstock Park High School. Comstock Park Schools shared the following statement with ABC 13:

"We were recently made aware that Miguel Nava, son of longtime district employee Lisa Nava, was tragically killed on a training mission near San Diego, California, when the helicopter he was assigned to was lost. Miguel was a 2013 graduate of Comstock Park High School and 2017 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the USMC Officer School. After graduating from these programs, he followed his passion to serve our country and become a helicopter pilot, currently holding the officer rank of Captain. While at CP, Miguel was a beloved student, leader, and member of the student council.

Miguel was also a member of multiple championship football and soccer teams including the 2011 and 2012 district and regional football championship teams, as well as the 2011 soccer team and 2012 district champion soccer team, where he was named all conference and all district. Throughout his time at Comstock Park and into his adult life, Miguel dedicated his time to help, mentor, guide, encourage, and support Comstock Park students.  After graduating from Comstock Park, Miguel would return to the school and speak to our students. 

There is no greater example of what it means to be a Panther than Miguel. Miguel will be remembered as an outstanding son, brother, husband, and father! We ask that you please keep his parents Lisa and Javier, his brother Nikolas, a CP graduate of 2016, and his wife Ryann and son Luca in your thoughts and prayers."

Former U.S. Rep Justin Amash posted on social media that he had nominated Nava for acceptance into the United States Naval Academy’s Class of 2017.

"Through the application process, my congressional staff and I came to know Miguel as an outstanding student and athlete who was curious to learn and worked tirelessly to accomplish his goals," Amash wrote. "Like me, Miguel was the child of an immigrant who came to America to start a new life. That experience fostered a keen awareness in Miguel of the incredible opportunities available to us in this country and a desire to give back. I did not know Miguel as an adult, but I am confident he was a credit to the United States Marine Corps. My heart goes out to his wife, Ryann, his son, Luca, his parents, Javier and Lisa, his brother, Nikolas, and all his family, friends, and squadron. May his memory—and the memories of his fellow Marines—be eternal."

The crash remains under investigation, according to the Marine Corps. "We have been confronted with a tragedy that is every service family’s worst fear,” said 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. We will get through this together."

Comment

Bill Marsh Jr. Named To NMC Board

Read More >>

City Officials to Talk Vacation Rentals, Safe Harbor, Master Plan at Joint Meeting

Read More >>

Your Winter Restaurant Guide

Read More >>

TC-Based Company Enters FDA Trials For Long COVID Treatment

Read More >>

DDA Names Interim CEO, Hires Firm to Lead Search Process

Read More >>

How NMC's Great Lakes Culinary Institute Came Back From The Brink Of Oblivion

Read More >>

Downtown Parking, Housing Development Estimated to Cost $67.7 Million

Read More >>

Cherry Capital Airport Adds Direct Service to Houston

Read More >>

January Home Sales Off To Solid Start

Read More >>

County Commissioners Discuss Final Facilities Report, ARPA Project Updates

Read More >>

Locally-Led Passenger Rail Project Takes Its Biggest Step Yet

Read More >>

Businesses Brace for 'Devastating' Interlochen State Park Closures

Read More >>

Country Star Dylan Scott to Perform at Cherry Festival

Read More >>

GT County Commissioners Explore Changes to Road Commission, Drain Commission Office

Read More >>