The Utah National Guard, like any other state, is made up of part-time soldiers. These are men and women who, in their everyday lives, are veterinarians, dentists and construction workers. Some of the members were on their first assignment out of basic training. But what makes Utah National Guard different from other states is that it includes the 19th Special Forces Group, which consists of experienced Green Berets with several combat deployments in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.About a dozen Green Berets, including Holmer, were sent to the District of Columbia. They’re easily identifiable because of an arrowhead patch and a tab that says “SPECIAL FORCES” on their left sleeves. When photos of the troops on the street began to circulate, questions began to swirl as to why elite forces were needed, especially since the protests were mostly nonviolent.Holmer understood why his unit’s presence was viewed critically. On June 4, National Guard commanders made the decision to pull the Special Forces patches off the uniform in an attempt to avoid sending the wrong message. “If you say, ‘Green Beret,’ people think of Rambo. And that’s not right at all,” he said. “My direction was to exercise patience. I told them not to be confrontational. You’re not there to stare them down or anything like that, you’re there to keep the peace.”To protesters, the very presence of the military, let alone Special Forces, was a bullying tactic. No matter how nice the National Guard members may have been, their armored vehicles, helmets and flak jackets sent another message. “It shows that they think something unruly is going to happen,” said Carl Leak, 41, a librarian from Lorton, Va., who showed up to the protests with his wife and 17 year-old daughter.