USA TODAY Sports
December 19, 2013
Rachel Washburn says she would wear "a pretty head scarf" to help connect with Afghan women.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.
(Photo: Rachel Washburn)
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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