Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader Also Does Army Intelligence Work in Afghanistan
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Last month, Rachel Washburn returned home from Afghanistan following her second tour as a first lieutenant with U.S. Army intelligence.
She was honored Sunday night at halftime of the Bears-Eagles game in Philadelphia, where she was a cheerleader for three years.<!–more–>
Washburn, 25, works for the Army as part of a cultural support team, which attaches women to special-operations units in an attempt to relate to the women of Afghanistan. She wore a head scarf while there and even helped deliver a local woman’s baby during a snowstorm.
<strong></strong>”We kind of noticed that women everywhere share certain similarities,” Washburn <a href=”http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/eagles/2013/12/19/cheerleader-rachel-washburn-army-intelligence-officer-afghanistan/4134549/” target=”_blank”>said</a>. “They obviously care about their home, their children. Women everywhere love pretty things. So if we wore a pretty head scarf, it would be like an icebreaker.”
The daughter of an Army helicopter pilot, Washburn was an ROTC student during her time as a cheerleader in Philadelphia, where she also attended Drexel University.
To date, her awards include the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Airborne Badge and Air Assault Badge—quite a set of achievements for a woman who recently literally stood on the sidelines while the men took care of the action.
<strong></strong>”It’s kind of a bit of a shock,” Washburn says of her transition from cheerleader to platoon leader.
“You don’t expect those two things to go hand in hand with one person.”