Conflicts of loyalties


From the mid 1980s, LStR 40 evolved and became the flagship unit per se, especially in the eyes of foreign military delegations. During the 1980s, the Minister of National Defence awarded the title of „best unit“ to the FJB/LStR on several occasions. The year 1989 brought unsettled times which affected the NVA paratroops too, within the framework of political change in the GDR. In the days from 14-17th October, three groups of 100 men drawn from LStR resources, were deployed to Leipzig. Apparently, the paratroopers‘ task was to quell any eventual rioting.

From a military policy aspect, this was a mistaken decision which caused a serious conflict of loyalties among the paratroopers. They never intervened, because conscientious soldiers from all ranks called to mind that they were the people’s army.
Nonetheless, the elite soldiers of the NVA experienced a severe identity crisis, questioning the time they had served till then. In particular, those who had served longest were no longer willing to continue in their posts and were discharged.

Despite all the difficulties, training continued from 1989 until 03.10.1990, albeit with reduced resources. On 22 June 1990, the paratroopers were sworn in a second time. The remainder of the Air Assault Regiment was integrated into the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) as of 03.10.1990 only to be subsequently disbanded by the high command of the German Armed Forces on 30.06.1991. This marked the end of nearly 30 years of the troops‘ proud history.

On this day, many a soldier, warrant officer, officer and member of civilian personnel passed through the barrack gates for the last time, tears in their eyes, heading for an uncertain future.