Parents identify one of 5 Marines who died in helicopter crash

Parents identify one of five marines who died in helicopter crash
Posted at 11:18 PM, Feb 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-09 08:50:19-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — 23-year-old Alec Langen always wanted to be a Marine like his dad.

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

Steve and Caryn Langen say Alec was one of the five marines who died in a helicopter crash in Pine Valley this week. He was serving as crew chief on the flight.

“He died with people he wanted to be with, doing what he loved and wanted to do,” Steve Langen said.

They say Alec had married the love of his life just a few weeks before. She was the first to text Caryn that Alec hadn't come home.

“Caryn was like, you need to call his unit; this is what you ask for," Steve Langen said. "I would go online and try to find out any information.”

Authorities say on Tuesday night, the five marines were conducting a training flight from Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. They were reported missing when their CH-53E Super Stallion Helicopter didn't return on time. Steven Langen says he used to fly the same aircraft.

“I did the same thing. Same helicopter, same everything from '86 to '95. I was there the whole time and several close calls,” Steve Langen said.

Federal, state, and local authorities launched a search effort in frigid temperatures, fog, snow, and rain. The Marines Corps says on Wednesday crews located the wrecked helicopter and the remains of all five victims in the area. Now, they’re fighting the elements to bring the remains back to their loved ones. That effort means the world to the Langen family.

“We are so thankful to the San Diego responders that went up there and searched for them and found that crew," Caryn Langen said. "Without them, they wouldn’t be coming home.”