Reservists cannot discuss their military work in detail, but they generally spend one weekend a month and at least two full weeks per year on active duty. Johnson has spent some of that time at New Jersey's McGuire Air Force Base, where he works in air transportation. He has helped load tanks, helicopters and explosives onto airplanes for military operations abroad.
O'Connor-Bater joined the faculty this year as a lecturer in the Spanish and Portuguese department, where she is teaching "Beginner's Spanish." She initially studied Spanish in the military, in which she enlisted after earning her bachelor's degree in 1977 from the University of Pennsylvania.
The Army placed her in an intensive, eight-month language program at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. She went on to become fluent while studying on a graduate fellowship in Mexico City. She later spent a year doing translation work for the Judge Advocate General for the Department of Defense Attaché at the American Embassy in Paris (she also speaks French and Italian).
"It was a great experience for a linguist," O'Connor-Bater said of her time in Paris. Her 12 years as a reservist have been "generally quite enjoyable," she recalled, "and there have been so many opportunities." Her recent work has been mainly in linguistics and in civil affairs, which handles non-military concerns that arise in an emergency or a military action.
O'Connor-Bater, who is a captain, has taught Spanish to officers and sent interpreters on relief missions to Guatemala after a hurricane. Her most recent reserve service had her brushing up her skills at a training course in the West in late January, just before classes began this semester.
Unruh, Princeton's director of development relations, spends many of his weekends and quite a few weekdays on the road -- for his service as a reserve officer and for his day job. He holds the rank of rear admiral and is deputy commander of the Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, which is headquartered in Norfolk, Va. And in December he also assumed command of the Naval Reserve Readiness Command Midwest based at Great Lakes, Ill. In that position he supervises the training of 7,200 Navy reservists assigned to units in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
For Unruh, part of a reservist's role is to act as an ambassador between the military and civilian worlds.
"I'm glad to be one of those people who has a foot in both camps, because it's interesting to share perspectives with my military friends about the issues that people in the academy think about and vice versa," he said. "That's part of the ambassadorial role that I play. I think most reservists would say the same."
Unruh received his commission in the Navy in 1970 after graduating from Princeton. He has worked at the University for 25 years. It's been a juggling act to make time for his military duties, but Unruh said the University has always been supportive.
"The people in my office understand, and if there's ever any slack they take it up," he said. "I've been able to say in good conscience that I haven't let down either side."
The events of Sept. 11 affected reservists in a powerful way. "I just felt my heart drop," said Johnson, who watched the tragedy unfold on a colleague's television at work. He knew in the days following Sept. 11 that he might be called for duty, so he moved up his wedding, which was planned for January, and got married in December.
Though he hasn't been called up yet, Johnson said it certainly could happen. His wife would not be happy. "She just wants me to sit behind a computer and fight the war that way," he said. But she understands how he will respond if he is called. "I love doing anything I can for my country, no matter how small," he said.
O'Connor-Bater's unit was told soon after Sept. 11 that it should be prepared to mobilize. "I thought I could easily get called up," she said, but in the end her unit wasn't activated.
A few days after the attacks, Unruh visited the Coast Guard and Navy personnel who were helping with security and recovery efforts in New York. At the time he was deputy commander of the Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic, which directs the defense of harbors.
"A lot of the Coast Guard and Navy sailors had been involved in the rescue operations 24 hours a day for four straight days, so I went up there with my commander to learn firsthand what they were doing and thank them for it," he said.
Unruh and O'Connor-Bater said they think it's unlikely they will be called up in the near future for a mission related to Sept. 11, but both feel an enhanced sense of the importance of their military roles since that event. "It strengthened my reserve commitment," said O'Connor-Bater. "I felt like our country had to take a stand."
And Unruh said he sees in the reservists with whom he works a new pride about their mission. "People were dedicated before, but I think there's a renewed sense of devotion and energy," he said.
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