Walz names Brigadier Gen. Shawn Manke as next leader of Minnesota National Guard

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced that Brigadier Gen. Shawn Manke will step in to serve as the next leader of the Minnesota National Guard, replacing Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen.

On Sunday, Jensen resigned from his post as adjutant general to assume his new position as director of the Army National Guard, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“In recent months, the Minnesota National Guard has been called to serve our state in unprecedented ways, and we are grateful for General Jensen’s service and steady leadership,” Walz wrote in a statement. “Having served in the Minnesota National Guard for 24 years before becoming Governor, I know General 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."

Manke has served in the Minnesota National Guard since 2003 and currently serves as the assistant division commander of the 34th Infantry Division based in Rosemount. In that role, he provided training and readiness oversight for 10 National Guard brigades that included more than 23,000 soldiers across Minnesota and eight other states, the release stated.

He also has served as chief of staff at the Joint Force Headquarters, where he advised the adjutant general. Before that, he served as the commander of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade and led about 3,000 soldiers.

Manke has also deployed overseas to Kosovo and Iraq since joining the Minnesota National Guard.

“It is a true honor to be named as Minnesota’s next Adjutant General,” Manke said in a statement. “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.”

Manke, a native of Cambridge, began his military career in 1991 when he was commissioned as a U.S. Army aviator and served overseas in Turkey, northern Iraq and Germany.

The adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard is a governor-appointed position with a term of seven years and serves in the governor’s cabinet as head of the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs.