MD Marine Killed In Combat In Iraq Survived By Wife, 4 Kids

GERMANTOWN, MD — A Marine from Germantown was one of two Americans killed March 8 while on a mission in Iraq to eliminate an ISIS stronghold, the Department of Defense said. Capt. Moises A. Navas, 34, a special operations officer stationed at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, suffered fatal wounds on the mission. He is survived by his wife, daughter, three sons, parents, and brother.

Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo, 34,from Simi Valley, California, also died in the fighting.

Marine Forces Special Operations Command said the Marines had accompanied Iraqi Security Forces on the mission. Both were assigned to 2nd Marine Raider Battalion.

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“Captain Navas was one of our true heroes and perfectly embodied the mission of the United States Marine Corps,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “We ask Marylanders to join me and the First Lady in praying for his friends, family, and all those who loved him. In honor of his service and sacrifice, the United States and Maryland flags will be lowered on the day of his interment.”

Navas, who was known to most as “Mo,” was born in Panama but grew up in Maryland. His commanding officer, Col. John Lynch, said in a statement that Navas loved watching his children play sports. He was also a scout sniper, a martial arts instructor, combat diver, and was recently selected for promotion to the rank of major.

“The hearts of the entire Marine Raider community are with the Pongo and Navas families as we mourn this tremendous loss,” Lynch said. “In times like these we come together and rely on each other, sharing our burdens and providing strength to those that need it. We will do everything we can to lift up and support our grieving families in order to honor the incredible lives and the ultimate sacrifices of Gunnery Sgt. Pongo and Capt. Navas.”

Navas enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004 and achieved the rank of sergeant before receiving his commission in July 2010. Originally an administrative clerk, he was assigned to Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., before entering the commissioning program. He then became an infantry officer and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, where he supported two Unit Deployments to Japan, and served as Company G’s executive officer, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

In 2014, Navas was selected to attend the Army’s Maneuver Captain’s Career Course in Fort Benning, Georgia. While awaiting orders to school, he completed MARSOC’s Assessment and Selection process, securing his spot in a future ITC class, which he completed in the spring of 2016, earning the special operations officer MOS.

Navas spent the last four years assigned to 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, where he served as a team commander and company executive officer, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve before this current deployment to Iraq.

He was a graduate of the USMC Expeditionary Warfare School Non-Resident Course, the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, the USMC Command and Staff College Non-Resident Course, Marine Combatant Diver Course, and Military Freefall Course.

His personal decorations include the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, two Good Conduct Medals, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

“On behalf of the Marine Raider Regiment and all of MARSOC, our most sincere condolences go out to the families of Gunnery Sgt. Pongo and Capt. Navas,” Lynch said. …”Both men epitomize what it means to be a Marine Raider. They were intelligent, courageous, and loyal. They were dedicated leaders, true professionals in their craft, and willing to go above and beyond for the mission and their team.”

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