It’s a nice idea that Michael G. Cummings has [“I didn’t deserve my combat pay,” Washington Forum, March 18], but he forgot one thing: We are all riflemen. That things may be considered good for some time does not mean they always will. Every soldier and Marine must be prepared to fight at a moment’s notice, including those deployed to Victory Base Complex in Iraq and other compounds that never receive enemy contact. If Victory had been attacked, Mr. Cummings would have had to fight just like any other soldier. That is the purpose of combat pay: One is in a position where he or she might at any time meet with and destroy the enemy.

Terron Sims II, Arlington