To celebrate Remembrance Day last week, Cable Beach Primary School students laid a wreath in honour of all special forces, including their new pen pals who work to counter terrorism overseas. CBPS Year 6 students have spent the past few months pen paling international Combined Task Force 150, one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces. Responsible for disrupting criminal and terrorist organisations, the unit counters illicit activities in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman by restricting the freedom of the pirates, drug runners and terrorists at sea. The force is based in a location even hotter than Broome; Bahrain, an island monarchy off the north-eastern coast of Saudi Arabia with average daily temperatures of 45 degrees. Each student was paired with their own pen pal, whose jobs include communications, diving and bomb disposal, night watch coast guards, lieutenants and submarine crew members. Through exchanging e-letters, their conversations touched on everything from favourite foods, hobbies and how to hunt a goanna, to family, culture and religion. Currently lead by New Zealand, the multinational force has been previously been headed up by Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Cable Beach student Miriam Baines, 12, said talking to her pen pal helped her feel better about her father, who was in training to become an army chaplain. “If he gets in he will have to do six weeks of training away from us with no contact for the first three weeks,” she said. “At first I was really sad about it and I still am, but learning about all this and how many lives even an Army Chaplain, my dad, might save, has made me feel a lot better about him going away.” Miriam said since the pen pal communication began, the force had made a huge impact in Bahrain. “In the span of time they’ve been writing to us, they’ve captured $10 million worth of drugs and weapons which would’ve been used to fund terrorism and murder a lot of innocent people,” she said. Several students expressed their interest in joining the special forces, with one in particular hoping to become a doctor in the marines. The students also took the time to reflect on their own family history, with several having relatives who fought in World War I and II. CBPS Year 6 teacher Ms Cole said watching the correspondence between her kids and the soldiers was “amazing, teary and heart-warming.” “It’s been awesome watching the children’s response and to see them really opening up,” she said. “The soldiers have been amazing and have inspired the kids in so many ways to chase their dreams.” The students are now preparing to send care packages to the soldiers, with sentimental items such as salty plums, Tim Tams, personalised drawings, red liquorice and photos.