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Marine killed in helicopter crash comes home with procession from Grand Rapids to Traverse City

A solemn procession escorted Captain Miguel Nava, one of five Marines killed in a California helicopter crash, from Grand Rapids to his hometown of Traverse City on Monday.

Local sheriff’s offices, Michigan State Police, fire departments and EMS lined overpasses across the state to honor a local hero gone too soon.

“It is an honor for us to stand for him. He served us and our country defended our democracy, and we want to be there to honor him at this very difficult time for his family,” said Mike Myers, State Captain for the Patriot Guard Riders, who helped organize the escort.


“In addition to the 40-plus members of my organization…there were about 100 local people, citizens and a whole contingent of fire departments and firetrucks at the entrance to the airport,” said Myers.

Cpt. Nava commissioned in the Marine Corps in May of 2017 and was promoted to the rank of Captain in November of 2021. His decorations included The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

He’s remembered not just for his service, but for his personality as well. The United States Naval Academy’s Memorial Hall said Cpt. Nava enjoyed the golf course, but if you couldn’t find him there, you’d find him in his rack. They said he once slept 21 hours in a 24-hour period.

“I spoke to several people standing in the flag line today who were in tears, remembering a member of their family who had passed…recognizing the sacrifice that Cpt. Nava gave us and our country,” said Myers.


Cpt. Nava is survived by his wife and newborn son. He will be laid to rest later this week.

You can donate to the Travis Manion Foundation to support Cpt. Nava’s family by clicking here. TMF empowers veterans and families of fallen service members to inspire their communities and the next generation.

You can donate to the creation of memorial bracelets for Cpt. Nava by clicking here.

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