SPRINGFIELD, IL (01/06/2014)(readMedia)-- Two Illinois National Guard Soldiers were ordered to state active duty and another 13 Soldiers were put on stand-by shortly after midnight Jan. 6 to help clear stranded vehicles from Illinois' snow-covered highways.

Sgt. Brent Adkins of Mattoon with the 766th Engineer Battalion in Decatur and Sgt. Benjamin Greist of Mattoon assigned to Company B, 634th Brigade Support Battalion in Champaign, both Oshkosh HEMTT wrecker operators, assisted the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police to pull three civilian vehicles and five semi tractor-trailers out of the snow and line of traffic between 2:30 and 7:30 a.m.

Adkins and Greist removed these stranded vehicles along the intersection of Interstate 57 and Interstate 70, which allowed an estimated 200 additional vehicles, which waited for the roads to be cleared for up to 9 hours, to continue to their destination.

Another four HEMTT wreckers and crew based in Springfield are on stand-by. Two Illinois National Guard helicopters with pilots and crew stood ready and remain on stand-by in the event aerial search and rescue is necessary.

All 15 Guardsmen are expected to return to normal duty later today. For more information contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs office at 217-761-3569.

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