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Pentagon Identifies First U.S. Service Member Killed in Combat in Syria

The Department of Defense identified the American service member who died in Syria on Thanksgiving as Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Dayton. The sailor was 42 years old and lived in Woodbridge, Virginia. He was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two, based in Virginia Beach.

Dayton, part of a multinational force fighting the Islamic State group in the region, was killed by an improvised bomb Thursday in northern Syria. A senior U.S. defense official said Thursday that at least one American service member was injured in the same attack.

Related: IED Blast Kills an American Service Member in Syria

There are up to 300 American service members operating in Syria at any given time.

"It is a painful reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face around the world to keep us safe," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement Thursday. "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 everyday."

Dayton is the first U.S. service member killed in combat in Syria.