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Friday, December 20, 2013

Former Eagles cheerleader now stars for Army

Former Eagles cheerleader now stars for Army
USA TODAY Sports
Gary Mihoces
December 19, 2013

Rachel Washburn says she would wear "a pretty head scarf" to help connect with Afghan women.
(Photo: Rachel Washburn)
As a Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader, Rachel Washburn toted pom-poms. As an Army intelligence officer with a special ops combat unit in Afghanistan, she carried an assault rifle and pistol. She was a pioneer in a special mission to relate to local women in ways that would be culturally inappropriate for male troops — including helping deliver an Afghan baby in a snowstorm.

Washburn, 25, who recently returned from her second tour in Afghanistan, will be honored Sunday night as a "Hometown Hero" by the Eagles at their home against the Chicago Bears.

Cheerleader turned soldier? Did that turn heads when she was in military training or living in a mud hut with Green Berets in a village in Afghanistan?

"Initially, it was kind of a novelty to people I met if they ever found out," Washburn said Thursday in a phone interview from Savannah, Ga., where she was on the first day of her post-deployment leave.
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