Man

Compared with the regular troops, a relatively high level was enforced for the selection of personnel for the FJB cadre. Every soldier or non-commissioned officer had completed at least 10 years of schooling and learnt a trade.  The percentage of grammar school leavers was exceptionally high. Special attention was paid to the individual suitability of the future paratrooper, so that anyone with a previous conviction or a bad reputation definitely had no chance of being drafted to the FJB. Particular importance was attached to a clear stance vis-à-vis the GDR. Nearly all the paratroopers were members of the FDJ (East German youth organization). The percentage of party members or candidates of the SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands  Socialist Unity Party of Germany) among the soldiers and non-commissioned officers was relatively high, compared to that in an MSB. Therefore those selected to become part of the paratrooper branch were, for political and security reasons, generally in possession of a good military training, with excellent physical ability and highly motivated.

As far as the ideological motivation of the soldiers and non-commissioned officers who enlisted in the airborne infantry force is concerned, this may well have varied.

Most of the young soldiers and non-commissioned officers were bent rather on proving their manliness, experiencing something new and becoming “tough guys”. And there were many incidences where these aspects led to disappointment, when expectations were not fulfilled. In particular, in the later years of service, there were repeated breaches of discipline, which stemmed from the contradiction between aspirations and reality in the daily routine of a paratrooper. Nevertheless, there were hardly any major problems as proved by the commitment, daring, endurance and determination to carry out a mission shown by the troops during highlights such as exercises and more extensive training measures. These included the annually alternating summer or winter bivouac in the low mountain ranges, where the focus was on skiing and mountaineering instruction, and the annual parachute camps. The paratroopers were highly motivated and willing when embarking on exercises and generally accomplished their missions with remarkable results.

During the period 1962-1986, the paratrooper battalion carried out tactical manoeuvres on an annual basis and took part in a total of eight large-scale exercises arranged by the NVA and its allies. In 1964 the paratroopers received their colours: orange. In the same year, they participated in an NVA parade for the first time with the stone grey beret. In 1966 the jump badge was introduced, followed by the orange beret in 1969. In 1971, the battalion was briefly renamed FJB-2 and in 1972 FJB-40. In the winter of 1978/1979, the battalion proved its worth during weeks of disaster relief on the island of Rügen. Redeployment to Lehnin followed in 1981. The FJB was restructured as Airborne Assault Regiment on 01.12.-1986.