First U.S. service member killed in Syria on Thanksgiving

Photo of Senior Chief Scott Dayton. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

SYRIA (WAVY) — The Department of Defense confirms a Virginia Beach-based U.S. service member was killed on Thanksgiving in Syria.

Virginia Beach station WAVY learned 42-year-old Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Cooper Dayton was Special Forces. He was a Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician stationed with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) Two, which is based out of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

Dayton died from an improvised explosive device blast. He was near Ayn Issa in northern Syria when the explosive detonated, according to a Pentagon statement. The service member was part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military operation combating ISIS in Syria and northern Iraq.

Dayton is the first to die in Syria during this current conflict. A senior U.S. defense official says at least one American service member was injured in the attack as well.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter offered his condolences to the family in a statement issued Thursday.

I am deeply saddened by the news on this Thanksgiving Day that one of our brave service members has been killed in Syria while protecting us from the evil of ISIL. It is a painful reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face around the world to keep us safe. Please keep this service member’s family, friends and teammates in your thoughts and prayers, and this Thanksgiving I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to all of our dedicated troops who selflessly protect us every day.”

Dayton entered the U.S. Navy on Feb. 17, 1993. During his military career, he obtained the following qualifications: Enlisted Explosive Ordnance Disposal Warfare Specialist and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist. He also received 19 awards, including: Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, seven Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy “E” Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Iraq Campaign Medals, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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