‘Ben was always in the front’: UW graduate among marines killed in helicopter crash

SEATTLE — A University of Washington graduate was among the five marines killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California this week.

Captain Benjamin Moulton, 27, was a pilot onboard CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. The chopper was traveling from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California for “routine flight training.”

It went missing on Tuesday and was found the Wednesday 45 miles east of San Diego.

“It was the most dangerous version of piloting that he could have found, said Russell Crandall from the Emerald City Boxing Gym. “That’s what he wanted to do.”

Crandall was Moulton’s coach on the UW boxing team. He graduated from UW in 2019. During his time at school, he was captain.

“To know Ben was to recognize a different kind of drive,” said Crandall. “He managed to stay incredibly positive. It was as if he, he loved to struggle.”

He says Moulton didn’t struggle with being a leader. As team captain, he says the role came naturally for Moulton.

“Ben was always in the front,” he said. “Whenever he would finish first, from the front of the pack he would always go back.”

“Always go back and pick up a teammate, who was who was slowed down,” he continued.

Moulton had stepped down from the role his senior year. He decided to focus on his dream of becoming a pilot.

“He was just too successful,” said Crandall. “He was achieving too much.”

“He had to move on,” he continued. “Long that just grew he grew to be bigger than the team.”

Moulton joined the Marine Corps in 2019. He had been promoted to Captain in August 2023.