A former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader who joined the Army and finished two tours of duty in Afghanistan was honored Sunday night before the game between the Eagles and the Chicago Bears in Philadelphia.
Rachel Washburn, the 25-year-old former Eagles cheerleader, “was a freshman at Drexel University when a friend — who also happened to be a cheerleader for the Philadelphia 76ers — convinced her to try out for the Eagles cheerleading squad.”
When Washburn made the squad, she was “an Army ROTC student at Drexel and a cheerleader for the Eagles.”
“Initially, it was kind of a novelty to people I met if they ever found out,” Washburn told USA Today. “It’s kind of a bit of a shock. You don’t expect those two things to go hand in hand with one person.”
According to CBS Sports, “Washburn made a trip to Kuwait in 2008 as part of a military goodwill tour with the Eagles cheerleading squad and that’s when she decided that maybe she wanted to make the Army a bigger part of her life”:
After three seasons of cheerleading with the Eagles (2007-09), Washburn decided she wanted to serve her country. Joining the Army wasn’t Washburn’s first taste of military life though. Washburn’s father was a Army helicopter pilot and Air Force Fighter pilot.
In Afghanistan, she also once delivered a baby for a local woman who was caught in a snowstorm.
Here is a description of Washburn’s accomplishments from the Eagles:
Lieutenant Washburn was an Eagles Cheerleader from 2007-2009 and recently returned from her 2nd tour in Afghanistan, where she was deployed to the dangerous Logar Provence. During her tour, she served as a Platoon Leader for a Multi-sensor Ground intelligence platoon with the 3rd Infantry Division, and earned numerous honors, including the Bronze Star Medal. She was also one of the first female soldiers in the Army’s competitive Cultural Support Team, attached to Special-operations combat forces such as the Army Green Berets, Rangers, and Navy SEALs.