Norfolk, Va. (CNSNews.com) – Marty McCabe traveled from his home in Las Vegas, Nev., to participate in a rally outside the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia on Monday morning. More than a political cause, McCabe was here to support his son, Matthew Vernon McCabe, a Navy SEAL facing special court martial for allegedly punching a terror suspect in the mid-section.
“We can’t send these guys into harm’s way to get the highest profile terrorists and then have them come back here and fight the system,” Marty McCabe told CNSNews.com.
McCabe’s son was charged with striking the terror suspect and making a false statement about it, while two other SEALs were also charged with lying about it and failing to protect the terror suspect.
Matthew McCabe deferred his plea during his arraignment on Monday. Another SEAL, Julio Antonio Huertas Jr., pleaded innocent.
The terror suspect who accused the SEAL of punching him in the mid-section is Ahmed Hashim Abed, alleged architect of the murder of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. The bodies of the four Americans were burned and hanged from a bridge.
By 7 a.m. on Monday more than a dozen people were holding signs outside the front gate of the naval base as passing cars honked in support for the three Navy SEALs.
“They’ve been tracking this guy [Abed] since 2004,” Marty McCabe said. “There was no collateral damage. No shots fired. It is absurd to think they would do anything to him. These guys are pros. If they wanted to do something to him, they would have done it during the capture.”
The three SEALS are McCabe, 24; Huertas, 28; and Jonathon Elliott Keefe, 25. Keefe’s arraignment was continued.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my son,” Marty McCabe said. “These guys never know when their next mission will be their last. They didn’t even get a handshake when they came back. They fight the enemy over there and come home and fight the system here.”
McCabe was charged with assault, dereliction of duty, and making a false official statement. The judge, Capt. Moira Modzelewski, set McCabe’s trial for Jan. 19, 2010. Huertas is charged with impeding an investigation, dereliction of duty and making a false official statement. The same judge, Modzelewski, set his trial date for Jan. 11, 2010. While Keefe’s arraignment was continued, he is charged with dereliction of duty and making a false official statement.
The crowd outside the gate reached close to 100 people at one point but dropped down to about 50 before 11 a.m. Still, the honking of horns continued throughout the rally, which ended at about noon, sounding almost like a parade outside the Navy base’s front gate.
People carried signs saying, “You fight for us, now we fight for you,” “Honk for Our SEALs,” “Condemn the Terrorists, Not the SEALs,” and “Is This America?”
“I can’t believe the way political correctness has intertwined itself like a snake into our military,” Dawn West, a Norfolk realtor and one of the organizers of the rally outside the front gate, told CNSNews.com. “What these gentlemen did, if they did it, does not warrant court martial. That terrorist is lucky to be alive after what he did to the Blackwater guys.”
The mother of one of the Blackwater victims, Donna Zovka of Cleveland, Ohio, said she felt some closure at the capture of the man responsible for the murder of her 32-year-old son Jerry Zovka, but she felt she had to show her support for his captors.
“I am very grateful to these three Navy SEALs,” Donna Zovka told CNSNews.com. “I am hopeful for them. In my heart of hearts, I know they will overcome this and win.”
People from Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, and Maryland were all attending, said Josh Irving of Fort Worth, Texas, who organized the rally through his Facebook page.
“Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was just reading articles and read about these guys and my blood started boiling,” Irving told CNSNews.com. “I just lit a fire on Facebook and it took off.”
Shirley Boerstler came from Washington, N.C. to attend the rally.
“They shouldn’t be prosecuted,” Boerstler told CNSNews.com. “Navy SEALs are here to protect us and that’s what they were doing.”