Minnesota National Guard’s First Female General Officer Retires

MEDIA ADVISORY: For Immediate Release
August 22, 2022
Minnesota National Guard’s First Female General Officer Retires

ST PAUL, Minn. – Tomorrow, at a location in St. Paul, the Minnesota National Guard celebrates
the retirement of the first female general officer after she served more than 38 years for the

“My greatest accomplishment in my 38 years career is paving the way for all that follow and
helping Airmen, Soldiers and civilian employees achieve their dreams,” said Air Force Brig Gen.
Sandy Best, the Minnesota National Guard’s Assistant Adjutant General.

“Sandy is the first woman to be promoted to the rank of general in the Minnesota National Guard
since its inception in 1856, yet she did not use this recognition to hinder service members;
instead, she used her position to lift up the women and men in this organization,” said Army Maj.
Gen. Shawn Manke, the Minnesota National Guard’s Adjutant General.

Best is culminating her career serving as the assistant adjutant general, and even served as
interim adjutant general in 2020 – another first. Additionally, she served as the special assistant
to the Chief of National Guard Bureau, advising and assisting leaders across the 54 states and
territories in institutionalizing diversity and inclusion to attract, recruit, and retain a quality,
inclusive, and equitable workforce that enabled National Guard formations to reflect the
communities in which Guard members serve across the country.

Best, as part of a leadership team, oversaw the development of the Women’s Leadership Forum
This forum, in its ninth year, has had tremendous success in providing education, mentorship,
and networking opportunities for the women in the Minnesota National Guard’s formation and
those who support them. The success of this forum has become a model program for other states.

The Minnesota National Guard has increased its gender diversity with females representing 16.2
percent of the force in 2011 to 21.4 percent in 2022. Since February 2016, when Best was
promoted to brigadier general, two more females have attained the rank of general officer within
the Minnesota Guard.

“My hope for the future of diversity and inclusion is the continued emphasis throughout all
levels of the Minnesota National Guard, bold and robust discussions, and initiatives to promote a
culture where all Airmen, Soldiers and Civilian Employees, without regard for their gender,
color, ethnicity, sexual preference, disability, or difference are able to pursue opportunities they
are interested in and meet the qualifications for,” said Best.

“Sandy has positively impacted our organization and its citizen Soldiers and Airmen throughout
her more than 38 years of dedicated service to the Minnesota National Guard,” said Manke.
“This impact will have a ripple effect for years to come due to the leadership qualities she
exemplifies and her influence on establishing programs during her tenure.”

“I highly recommend service in the Minnesota National Guard and after 38 years I’d do it all over
again,” said Best.

Editor’s Note: Media members are invited to attend the retirement event on August 23 at 2:30
p.m., located at the Cedar Street Armory, 600 Cedar Street, St. Paul, Minn. Media can RSVP to
Lt. Col. Kristen Augé at 651-282-4789 or kristen.l.auge.mil@army.mil.About the Minnesota National Guard

Established in 1856 and headquartered in St. Paul, the Minnesota National Guard has more than
13,000 Soldiers and Airmen who serve in 58 communities across the state. The Citizen-Soldiers
and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard are ‘Always Ready’ to fight the nation’s wars,
protect the country, respond to state emergencies, and contribute to local communities. For more
information about the Minnesota National Guard, visit https://MinnesotaNationalGuard.ng.mil.