Captain Moises Navas, a special operations officer assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, was killed in Iraq on March 8, 2020. He died from wounds suffered while accompanying Iraqi Security Forces during a mission to eliminate an ISIS stronghold in a mountainous area of north central Iraq. He was 34 years old.
Another Marine Raider – Gunnery Sergeant Diego Pongo – was also killed. Four other U.S. service members were wounded. Pongo was also assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion.
Navas died in an operation that took place in the mountains of northern Iraq more than 35 miles south of Erbil. The target was a terrorist training camp located in a tunnel and cave complex in the Qara Chockh mountains. Four other U.S. service members were wounded. The raid on the terrorist base was described as a partnered company-sized operation by ISOF.
Capt. Navas enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004 and achieved the rank of sergeant before receiving his commission through the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program in July 2010. Originally an administrative clerk, he was assigned to Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., before his selection to MECEP. Upon his commissioning and completion of The Basic School, he 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.
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.
Captain Navas spent the last 4 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.
Moise Navas 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.
He is survived by his wife, daughter, and three sons.
The Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command was created as a major command within the Corps and a co-equal component of United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The majority of the MARSOC units are based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The subunits of MARSOC include the Marine Raider Regiment, the Marine Raider Support Group, and the Marine Raider Training Center. The Marine Raider Regiment has a headquarters company and three Marine Raider Battalions. Two Marine Raider Battalions are located at Camp Lejeune and one at Camp Pendleton.
Two Marine Raiders KIA in Northern Iraq on March 8, 2020, SOF News, March 9, 2020.
Photo provided by Department of Defense.