Donnie Seward has nine career victories on the track for VCU.

Donnie Seward’s sprawling, paragraph-deficient e-mail reads like it was written by a man late for his own wedding. Punctuation, be damned.

I’m willing to excuse the VCU track star today, however, because he’s writing from half a world away, in Baghdad, Iraq. According to Seward, it could be a while before he’s around a reliable internet connection again. Within hours, he’ll board a flight for Tallil in Southern Iraq, where he’ll be patrolling some of the most dangerous roads in the world, marked by sneering insurgents and crude roadside bombs.

A member of the U.S. Army Reserves since 2006, Seward is a sergeant in the 1-116th Infantry. Seward will serve as a convoy security vehicle commander. He’ll be riding in a MRAP, a mine resistant ambush protective vehicle. His unit will help ensure the safe arrival of supplies and other assets, as well as the transportation of important personnel during the Iraq war drawdown.

Despite the potential for explosions and gun battles, Seward hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

“The main threats out on the roads used by insurgents are EFP, IED, RKG-3,” Seward writes. “Mainly things that go BOOM!”

With any luck, his penchant for levity will serve him well in Iraq for the better part of the next year. As of this writing, Seward has a little more than 300 days remaining in his deployment. Hopefully, that will help him adjust to his new surroundings. His unit trained in Kuwait in a climate he called, “like turning your oven to the highest setting, putting a fan by it and putting your face in front of the oven.”

More