On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles will celebrate a former cheerleader who left the organization to join the Army. First Lieutenant Rachel Washburn will be honored by the team during its “Hometown Heroes” ceremony.
Washburn was a cheerleader for the Eagles from 2007-09 while earning a degree from Drexel University. While in school she was a part of the Army ROTC.
During that time, Washburn traveled to Kuwait and Iraq with the cheerleaders for a goodwill tour. It was that trip which reignited her passion to enlist in the military.
“ROTC is a very canned version of what the military is going to be. So getting to actually talk to people who are in the military and doing their jobs day in and day out … was very eye-opening,” she said. “It was kind of what re-lit the fire and my passion for the military.”
The decorated officer finished her second tour in Afghanistan on Nov. 17 and has approximately one year of service remaining.
Philadelphia recognizes one “Hometown Hero” at every preseason and regular-season home game.
[For more on Washburn check out USA Today's feature]