MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced the new leader of the Minnesota National Guard.

The governor has appointed Brigadier General Shawn Manke to serve as Minnesota’s next adjutant general, filling the vacancy created upon the resignation of Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, who was recently promoted to lieutenant general.

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“In recent months, the Minnesota National Guard has been called to serve our state in unprecedented ways, and we are grateful for Gen. Jensen’s service and steady leadership,” Gov. Walz said. “Having served in the Minnesota National Guard for 24 years before becoming governor, I know Gen. Manke’s experience commanding soldiers, concern for National Guard members’ well-being, and dedication to public service have prepared him to be an effective adjutant general. I look forward to working with Gen. Manke to serve the people of Minnesota.”

Manke has served in a number of leadership roles in the Minnesota National Guard since 2003. Currently, he serves as the assistant division commander of the 34th Infantry Division based in Rosemount, providing training and readiness oversight for ten National Guard brigades with more than 23,000 soldiers across Minnesota and eight other states.

Since joining the Minnesota National Guard, Manke has also served in overseas deployments to Kosovo and Iraq.

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“It is a true honor to be named as Minnesota’s next adjutant general,” Manke said. “The Minnesota National Guard is a tremendous organization, and I am humbled and eager to lead the great Minnesota National Guard soldiers and airmen in service to the State of Minnesota, and the United States of America.”

The Minnesota National Guard continues to support missions abroad, but has also been mobilized for domestic situations in Minnesota. For the first time ever, all 13,000 soldiers were mobilized six days after George Floyd’s death. Guards men and women working round the clock for several days to bring back order in the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Just before that, the guard was assisting in a big way during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some of it has been a little out of the ordinary lately, where we see them at long-term care facilities swabbing for COVID-19 to protect our seniors, or being asked to drop everything at a moment’s notice and help us in a time of great civil unrest and pain,” Walz said.

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The governor is the commander-in-chief of the Minnesota National Guard, and the adjutant general serves for a term of seven years and is appointed by the governor.

Marielle Mohs