Summerlin woman juggles family, career and Air Guard service

They used to call it a "man's world." But let's face it, that term has since gone the way of the single-income household, the one-car garage and the little white picket fence.

In fact, if you still adhere to the belief of a U.S. world of male dominance, then it's time to begin searching for a nice roomy cave, one with a sufficient number of sticks lying around so you could light a fire now and then. And based on the present status of the foreclosure market, you may not have to look very hard.

Perhaps the ideal case to prove the point is that of Summerlin's Rachel Creger ---- a lady who is nothing short of being a human dynamo.

The question put to Creger was simple enough: How do you handle the responsibilities of being a commissioned officer in the Nevada National Guard, while maintaining your status as an assistant medic to a flight doctor, and all the time working as a physical therapist in two Summerlin hospitals?

But that's not all. There's Mark, an equally busy husband to find time to be with, and above all there are two daughters, Raine, 6, and Riana, 5, who require as much "mommy attention" as possible.

Ahhh, but there's even more to it. As Creger explained it, "One weekend a month we're required to be up in Reno for special National Guard drills. We also average about two weeks a year away from home for annual military training."

Does all of this put a strain on her life?

"Not at all," Creger was swift to respond. "Yes, I do have a busy lifestyle, but I'm also very happy to have it. Quite honestly, I couldn't do it without the kind of family support we have. That makes it all possible.

"I love what I do, and I have to re-emphasize how very fortunate my husband and I are to have the family support that allows us to do what we do."

The way she tells her story, it would seem that she hit the ground running after arriving in Las Vegas from her native San Francisco in 1996, and she hasn't stopped running since.

Creger, who was wed a year before moving to Las Vegas, joined the Nevada National Guard 16 years ago, shortly after arriving here. She has served as a commissioned officer for the last six years and now holds the rank of captain in the 152nd Medical Group, a unit of the air wing of the Nevada National Guard.

In 2004, Creger was sent to Kuwait with a small contingent of her unit. That was to fulfill one of the missions of the Nevada Air National Guard's medical service. As she explained it, the role of medical service is to train health care personnel in combat and disaster medicine.

"We were deployed as medics ---- a handful of us from Nevada to Kuwait. We were there for only 45 days," she said, adding that it was a very comprehensive program.

Shortly after her return from Kuwait, Creger completed her studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she earned a master's degree in physical therapy.

Her normal routine as a therapist varies, but Creger explained that at present, for the most part, she divides her working hours between the physical rehabilitation facilities in Summerlin Hospital Medical Center and MountainView Hospital.

She admits, however, that it's sometimes difficult to make the transition from being a therapist technician to a medical service corps nurse in the Air Guard.

"My husband is in the same guard unit as me," she said. "Mark, who is a tech sergeant, has been in the National Guard for 18 years."

Is it particularly comforting to have your husband serving in the same unit? After a brief pause, Creger replied, "Let me answer that this way ---- when you're in uniform, you turn off the husband-wife thing."

In summary, Creger referred to her girls as "very important to me. I try to give them as much attention as possible. ... My position as an officer is very rewarding. ... I want to take advantage of this (lifestyle) as much as possible."

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His newest novel, "All For Nothing," is now available. Contact him at


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