Miguel Nava '17
On February 7, 2024 Captain Miguel Nava, USMC '17 was killed in a helicopter crash. Please consider a donation to his family to honor his service, and the incredible sacrifice of his wife and five-month-old son.

MIGUEL J. NAVA, CAPT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Miguel Nava '17

Date of birth: September 30, 1995

Date of death: February 7, 2024

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 2017 Lucky Bag:

2017 Nava LB.jpg

Miguel Nava

Traverse City, Michigan

Miguel Nava is a native of the second best state that borders Lake Michigan. He says he is a Michigan fan but can be seen at all times in a Michigan State polo. In June of 2013 he reported to USNA half asleep. When he's not trolling around the golf course, there's a good chance you'll find him in his rack. In fact, he once slept 21 hours in a 24 hour period. When he's not in his natural habitat of inhisrackistan, he can be found in his chair, half undressed, distracted by something on Facebook. No one will ever understand how someone who gets ready so quickly can take so long to get ready. There's only one thing left to say… Nava Nava, Nava Nava, hey hey hey, Navaaaaaaaaa. And that's why it's called Euchre. Your infectious smile and luscious locks will be missed. Catch ya on the flip side brother.

2017 Nava LB.jpg

Miguel Nava

Traverse City, Michigan

Miguel Nava is a native of the second best state that borders Lake Michigan. He says he is a Michigan fan but can be seen at all times in a Michigan State polo. In June of 2013 he reported to USNA half asleep. When he's not trolling around the golf course, there's a good chance you'll find him in his rack. In fact, he once slept 21 hours in a 24 hour period. When he's not in his natural habitat of inhisrackistan, he can be found in his chair, half undressed, distracted by something on Facebook. No one will ever understand how someone who gets ready so quickly can take so long to get ready. There's only one thing left to say… Nava Nava, Nava Nava, hey hey hey, Navaaaaaaaaa. And that's why it's called Euchre. Your infectious smile and luscious locks will be missed. Catch ya on the flip side brother.

Loss

Miguel was lost on February 7, 2024 when the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter he was aboard crashed in Pine Valley, California, approximately 50 miles east of San Diego.

Four others aboard were also killed; they were members of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361. They were flying from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to their home base at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

Other Information

From MLive.com:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A U.S. Marine from West Michigan who was killed in a helicopter crash this week is being remembered as a “beloved” student, leader and athlete by his former high school.

Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, was identified as one of five Marines who were killed Tuesday, Feb. 6, in a helicopter crash during a “routine flight training” in San Diego, California, the Marine Corps said Friday.

Nava grew up in West Michigan and graduated from Comstock Park High School in 2013, the school said Friday. His mom, Lisa Nava, is a longtime employee of the school district.

While at Comstock Park, Miguel Nava was a “beloved student, leader and member of student council,” according to a statement from the high school.

Even as a teenager, Nava had “lofty aspirations” and was determined to reach his goals, said Comstock Park assistant principal Tony Petkus. He was voted by his classmates as “most likely to succeed,” as well as “best dressed” of his class, Petkus said.

“He was so determined to reach those (goals), but yet he was humble,” Petkus told MLive/The Grand Rapids Press. “He’s 28 years old and he’s a Captain, he’s an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. You know, gosh, who knows where he would have went?”

Nava also had an enthusiasm that was “contagious,” Petkus recalled.

“He always had that smile, it didn’t matter what the situation was,” Petkus said. “He was positive. He was that leader.”

Nava was also an accomplished student athlete on the football and soccer teams. He played in multiple championships, including the 2011 and 2012 district and regional football championships, and the 2011 soccer team and 2012 district champion soccer team, where he was named all-conference and all-district.

Even after he graduated from Comstock Park, Nava would return to the school to mentor other students, the school said.

“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,” the school said. “There is no greater example of what it means to be a Panther than Miguel.”

In 2013, Nava was nominated by former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash for the United States Naval Academy. He graduated from the Naval Academy and the United States Marine Corps Officer School in 2017, according to Comstock Park.

Nava commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 26, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. military shared Friday. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten paid respect to the fallen Marine in a post on the social media platform X Friday.

“Absolutely heartbroken to hear that Miguel Nava of Comstock Park was one of the Marines killed in a crash this week,” Scholten wrote. “I offered my condolences and assistance to his family after hearing the news, and join our community and nation in lifting his loved ones in prayer.”

Miguel Nava is survived by his parents, Lisa and Javier Nava, his brother Nikolas Nava, and his wife Ryann Nava and son Luca Nava, Comstock Park said.

Luca, his son, was 5 months old when Miguel was lost.

From WZZM13.com:

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — During Friday night's Comstock Park Boy's Basketball game, Marine Captain Miguel Nava, a 2013 graduate of the city's high school was honored with a moment of silence.

He, alongside four other Marines, were killed in a helicopter crash on Wednesday outside of San Diego while flying through a storm that has been hitting Southern California.

Nava was married to his wife Ryann of four years, and recently had a son, Luca, born in September.

Assistant Principal Tony Petkus knew Nava during his high school days. He knew the captain would be an extraordinary person just by the way he carried himself.

"If you look at any of the pictures, he has had that smile," said Petkus. "He was just so positive. We need more Miguels in this world. Someone that, you know, 20 years old, that is given his dedication, his service to our country, and in his sacrifice."

We spoke with one of Nava's best friends, and teammate, Jacob Brown.

"Miguel is one of the best people," said Brown. "And that's cliché, I think we may overuse that in times like these sometimes, but there's truly no one that was more widely respected and kind as caring as Miguel."

Pictures from Browns and Nava's high school days show that special smile everyone talks about.

When he heard that his friend wanted to be a Marine and graduate from the Naval academy, it didn't come as a shock.

"When he was telling me that he wanted to do that, and the process and the process and everything like that. He was he was gonna complete it," said Brown. "He was gonna get it done."

To Brown, the world lost a good Marine, and an even better person.

"I keep going back to (him) as the most respectful, kind, caring-driven person that there ever was that I've ever met. I mean, I just, I hope everyone could see Miguel and what it takes to be just a decent human being."

Photographs


Class of 2017

Miguel is the only member of the Class of 2017 in Memorial Hall.


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