The Paras' flying horse insignia, immortalised during battles since the Second World War, will be replaced with a new emblem when they are merged into the 16th Air Assault Brigade in September.
But former senior commander of the Paras, General Sir Anthony Farrar- Hockley, called it a "rotten idea". He said: "The winged horse with a warrior on it has been the symbol of airborne forces, not just the Parachute Regiment, since they began."
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he added: "The idea of changing it, I suspect because we want to make some new start or break up the old ideas, is to my mind potty."
The Paras will still keep their maroon beret and steel wings cap badge when they become part of the new brigade.
Former Tory MP Sir James Spicer, who served with the regiment as a major during the Suez crisis, said: "It is difficult for serving officers to comment but I know what the view of the ordinary soldier will be - don't bugger us around, leave us alone and don't interfere with things you do not understand."
But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "It is emphatically not a slap in the face to the Parachute Regiment. The Pegasus symbol applies to all members of 5th Airborne and because of the other regiments joining the new force it would have been unfair to keep it."Reuse content