Rachel Washburn is a former NFL cheerleader, but that’s not why she’s being honored by the Philadelphia Eagles tonight. Washburn is a highly decorated and amazing member of the US Army. Check out the facts on Washburn and why she’s considered a hero.
1. Washburn Started Out as an NFL Cheerleader
From 2007 through 2010, Rachel Washburn cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles and whenever she thinks back on her days as a cheerleader, it brings her a great amount of joy. Washburn told the Philadelphia Eagles website what she loved most about being a cheerleader:
We’re all beautiful women who are there to be entertaining at games, but also, we are incredibly involved in the community, which is something that I am incredibly proud of.
The website further tells Washburns story, giving us background on how she decided to become a cheerleader.
Growing up, Rachel had been a gymnast, and after arriving at Drexel in 2006, she decided to join the dance team. Hearing that one of her friends had become a 76ers cheerleader, Rachel decided to take a stab at the “big leagues.” She tried out for the Eagles Cheerleaders squad, despite having never taken a cheer lesson in her life.
2. Now, She’s a First Lieutenant in the United States Army
Having served two tours in Afghanistan already, Washburn serves our country as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army. Washburn is actually a highly decorated officer. She’s only 25 years old, but she has already received the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, as well as the Combat, Airborne and Air Assault Badges. She even helped deliver a baby during a snow storm, taking instructions from military medics via radio.
3. Tonight Washburn Is Being Honored as Hometown Hero by the Philadelphia Eagles
— Hillbilly News (@Hillbilly_News) December 22, 2013
Barbara Zaun, the Eagles’ director of cheerleading, along with many other members of the organization, is very excited to see Washburn be honored tonight. Zaun states:
Rachel really is the epitome of an American hero, which is why we are looking forward to Sunday night’s game when we will have the opportunity to acknowledge her bravery and thank her for the sacrifices she has made to serve and protect. It will be very special for me to see her honored as our Hometown Hero after working so closely with her during her time as a cheerleader
4. She’s a Member of the Army’s New Cultural Support Program
Rachel Washburn—cheerleader, child deliverer and soldier. pic.twitter.com/66mntLVg20
— Ghost (@Ghostinthereal) December 22, 2013
When Washburn joined the army, she decided to become a member of a new program called the Cultural Support Program. She explains a bit about the program to the Philadelphia Eagles saying:
The Cultural Support Team was an initiative created by the military to fulfill a tactical gap in Afghanistan, given the cultural restrictions. The Special Operations operators are not able to engage the female population, so they recruited females in the military to fill that gap. We could be their voice during missions for engagement to ensure security on objectives, and we could help search and secure the females and the children during missions.
5. Washburn Was Raised as a Military Brat
Rachel Washburn’s father, Lon, served many years in the Army and Air Force as a pilot, so Rachel was raised as an army brat. Moving from place to place never really bother Rachel. She actually thought it was kind of cool …
I definitely didn’t mind the military lifestyle as far as moving. I always thought that my dad had a pretty cool job and that certainly helped push me in that direction.