Community gathers to support family of US service member killed in Syria

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The community showed its support Sunday for a family who lost a husband and father on Thanksgiving.

Military officer Scott Dayton was killed while fighting in Syria. Senior Chief Dayton was an explosives expert based in Virginia Beach. He died while part of Operation Inherent Resolve — the fight against ISIS.

Sunday morning, friends and family gathered at Locksley Arch in Virginia Beach to send his family off as they left to meet his body.

Mikel Manthey, who was at the send-off, says, “My dad actually worked with him in the same unit for a while and my dad was in the Navy for a long time and we understand that sacrifice.”

The 42-year-old Senior Chief joined the Navy 23 years ago. Among his 19 awards are the Bronze Star and two Medals of Commendation. A hero to his country, his community and his family.

“When someone loses someone like this, it’s hard, and the family needs to know that people are there for them,” says Meghan McTernan, who lives nearby.

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday morning, including family, friends, first responders and even strangers.

“Hopefully we can emotionally take care of them a little bit too,” says Barb Anderson. She was one of many who had never met Dayton, but wanted to show their support.

Her husband, Greg Anderson, says, “They really are patriots that care about the country and I think it shows in this military community.”

Senior Chief Dayton was the first American service member killed while fighting in against ISIS in Syria. An IED explosion on Thanksgiving brings an overseas fight right to our backyard.

“I think we have to always remember that people that are serving in the military are protecting all of us for our liberties and our freedoms,” says Greg Anderson.

“It’s very sobering to lose someone who sacrificed their life and to have someone taken from your family, from this community. It’s hard for everyone,” says McTernan.

A tough situation for everyone, as they waved their flags proudly and solemnly. 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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