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Air Force changes military funeral honors requirements

BEDFORD, Mass. -- Members of the Patriot Honor Guard perform a seven-member funeral detail at a local cemetary last year. Due to the impact sequestration has on resources, Air Force Services is adjusting requirements for military funeral honors of retirees. The Patriot Honor Guard will revert to requiring a minimum of two personnel for retiree funeral details. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)

BEDFORD, Mass. -- Members of the Patriot Honor Guard perform a seven-member funeral detail at a local cemetery last year. Due to the impact sequestration has on resources; Air Force Services is adjusting requirements for military funeral honors of retirees. The Patriot Honor Guard will revert to requiring a minimum of two personnel for retiree funeral details. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Due to the impact sequestration has on resources, Air Force Services is adjusting requirements for military funeral honors of retirees.

Air Force policy will revert to requiring a minimum of two personnel for retiree MFH details, consistent with statute and Department of Defense policy.

The Air Force historically went a step further by providing a seven-member detail for all retiree funerals.

"We cherish the service and sacrifice of our retirees," said Brig. Gen. Eden Murrie, Director of Air Force Services. "While we had to adjust the Air Force requirement as a result of sequestration, commanders still have latitude to provide seven-member details if local resources permit."

The two-person team will continue to fold and present the interment flag and play Taps. Additional support for retiree funeral honors remain available from authorized providers such as Veteran Service Organizations or Reserve Officer Training Corps units, as resources permit.

At Hanscom, the Patriot Honor Guard team conducts nearly 500 funerals each year.

"On any given day the Patriot Honor Guard performs three to five funerals," said Master Sgt. Aaron Marley, Patriot Honor Guard superintendent. "This can require up to 15 well trained base honor guard team members."

Marley went on to say the adjustment from a seven to two person detail will definitely assist members on days when more than one funeral is supported.

"This change will not affect us performing funerals with honor, dignity, and respect," continued Marley. "Our honor guard team members train to perfection, it doesn't matter if someone served 4 years or 24 years in the Air Force...if they served their country honorably, we are at their funeral, ready to provide the most professional final respects possible."

MFH details for veterans and active duty members will remain unchanged. Funeral honors for veterans consist of two-person teams while active duty funeral honors are performed by a 20-person detail.