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The head of the Army National Guard says his ‘favorite whiskey is always somebody else’s whiskey’

"Other people's whiskey is the best whiskey."
Haley Britzky Avatar
U.S. Army National Guard Director, Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, awards Soldiers for outstanding service at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, October 1, 2021. (Spc. Osvaldo Fuentes/U.S. Army)

Whiskey is, as we know, an important piece of military culture

In 2017, the oldest living World War II veteran at the time, Richard Overton, credited whiskey and cigars for his 111 years. It’s believed to be at least partly responsible for bringing together Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, more commonly referred to as Lewis and Clark. And more importantly, it’s been fueling non-commissioned officers — and giving them a chance to forget whatever dumb shit they saw that week — for ages.

So it should come as no surprise that the three-star general in charge of the Army National Guard has a thought or two about whiskey.

Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, the director of the Army National Guard, was speaking at an event with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) on Tuesday when he was asked about his favorite bourbon. He’s no “bourbon aficionado,” he said, but he does have a few tips for the up-and-coming connoisseur. 

First, “always enjoy it in moderation,” he said. 

Second, drink “the whiskey that you like.” 

And the most important: “What I have found is my favorite whiskey is always somebody else’s whiskey.”

Jensen, who has been serving since 1989 when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, surely has a favorite brand of whiskey, but said he was making an effort not to violate Pentagon policy that forbids endorsements of “a non-federal entity, event, product, service, or enterprise.” 

Before becoming the director of the Army Guard in 2020, Jensen served as the Adjutant General of Minnesota, and before that was the commander of the 34th Infantry Division. He has served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Among his military awards and decorations are the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with four Bronze Oak Leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit with one Bronze Oak Leaf cluster, and the Distinguished Service Medal. 

And with all the National Guard has been doing over the last two years — which has included serving as stand-in bus drivers and substitute school teachers — there’s no doubt he, and everyone else in the Guard, could use a drink. 

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