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The East German armed forces and police both wore chevrons on their uniforms but for different purposes.
In the armed forces, EM and NCO ranks wore them to show the level of their professional commitment: 10 years maximum versus 25 years minimum.
Police agencies used them to show years of service, with 5 years service time as the minimum.
The armed forces and police differed also in where they wore the chevrons on their uniforms, as indicated below.
In appearance and construction, however, the chevrons worn by the armed forces and police were basically the same, differing only in width and unit colors. They consisted of silver or gold metallic tress, sewn on a fabric base with high wool content. Navy chevrons were a partial exception: see below.
Note that not all East German agencies wore chevrons. The Kampfgruppen/Combat Groups of the Working Class, for example, wore rank stripes but not chevrons.