Blizzard in Northern Canada
When I first saw John Geigers book " The Third Man Factor " I was compelled to seek out the book and read it for myself.
I too had a third man factor expereince.
In my experience I was on a sovereignty operation exercise with the Canadian military in Nunavut.
It was February and the average outside temperature was - 50 C.
It was near the end of the three week exercise when the platoon I was in was 6 km from the nearest town. We were tasked to protect a certain high value area. We were also told that a blizzard was on its way within two hours and the temperature may drop to -80 C or colder due to high wind speeds.
My 40 person platoon was in danger from being exposed to the elements and severe temepratures. Unfortunately, at the same time, the high ranking persons in my platoon mentally and physically shut down from the cold and other factors.
As no direction or orders were given to save us from this impending peril, I simply sat on my ruck sack dejected, depressed, was very cold and wondered what was going to happen to us when the blizzard hit.
Shortly there after i felt a presence to my rear right and essentially pulled me up and said to me " Get off your ass, gather the troops, gather your strenght and demand that a clover leaf shaped snow wall is built around our tents immediately. "
All of a sudden I wasn't cold, I was energized by the fact that I was being watched over, prompted and encouraged to save ourselves from this impending blizzard.
The snow in the artic can be put into blocks. The texture and feel of the snow is as it was white styrofoam. I directed the troops to build the snow wall in cubes, to a height of 8 feet. and completely enclose the perimeter of our military issue cotton duck tents.
As soon as the snow wall was complete, the leading edges of the blizzard hit. The troops gathered their snow ice kits, returned to their tents and endured a fiercely cold night. All our stoves and sources of heat were on as high as they could go but in spite of this , the cold outside was so severe, that our tents still froze solid.
Thankfully, the storm passed by the next morning. We exited our tents to see a snow drift on the back side of the snow wall. The snow drift matched the height of the snow wall at 8 feet tall and incredibly went back another 35 feet on a low sloping angle. I believe that if I wasn't prompted to build the snow walls, some of us would have perished that night.
This wasn't my first nor has it been my last guardian angel intervention, but this experience was my most profound as it directly affected so many others.
I have learned to accept these interventions in my life, cherish them when they occur and more importantly not question their origins or intent.