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Governor names Manke new leader of Minnesota National Guard

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new leader is taking over command of the Minnesota National Guard.

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced his appointment of Brig. Gen. Shawn Manke as Minnesota’s next adjutant general. Manke succeeds Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, who recently assumed his new role as director of the Army National Guard.

Walz, who served in the Guard for 24 years before becoming governor, said at a news conference with Manke that leading that organization “is an incredible responsibility.” And the governor said Manke, who has 30 years of military experience, “is prepared to do this work.”

Manke said that he “will do everything in my effort to make sure we sustain the best National Guard in the nation,” the Star Tribune reported.

A native of Cambridge, Manke has served in various leadership roles in the Minnesota National Guard since 2003. He currently serves as assistant division commander of the 34th Infantry Division based in Rosemount. He also recently served as chief of staff at the Joint Force Headquarters, where he was an adviser to the adjutant general.

Manke and his wife, Mary, have two children, Kalie and Lucas, who are both lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

The Minnesota National Guard is seeing new responsibilities. The Guard offered free COVID-19 testing in Minneapolis and other locations around the state in late May. During civil unrest following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, more than 7,000 members of the Guard were called up for duty.

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