MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -

Minnesota's Military Funeral Honor unit is on pace to provide services at 4,700 funerals this year. But, because of a deep staffing reduction, the number of military funerals could be cut nearly in half.

The unit's 24 members are being cut to 11 beginning Oct. 1. The unit has teams in Moorhead, Duluth, St. Cloud, and Cottage Grove and provides at least two uniformed soldiers for military funerals. They present the survivors with a folded American flag, provide a rifle salute and play taps.

Chris Van Hofwegen heads the program for the Minnesota National Guard. He says federal funding has been reduced from nearly $1.2 million to $645,000.

The Star Tribune says the National Guard Bureau in Washington argues the cuts will be less severe and would be absorbed by part-time Guard members.