From Eagles Cheerleader To 1LT At FS//HAAF
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Last comment by sebekm 7 months, 1 week ago.

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(Jimmy: When I read this article at, I thought of you. Here are some of the highlights:)

"Former Eagles cheerleader now stars for Army
By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY Sports

8:18 p.m. EST December 19, 2013

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 (NFL game) 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.

"It's kind of a bit of a shock. You don't expect those two things to go hand in hand with one person."

She didn't join the Army on a whim. During her three seasons with the Eagles, Washburn was an Army ROTC student and history major at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He father was an Army helicopter pilot and an Air Force fighter pilot. She figures she moved 17 or 18 times growing up, but she calls Philadelphia home even though she just attended college there.

During Washburn's freshman year at Drexel in 2006, she had a friend who was a basketball cheerleader with the Philadelphia 76ers. Washburn loved dancing and thought that would be a "cool experience." With her fondness for football, she tried out for the Eagles squad in the spring of her freshman year.

She made the team and cheered for the Eagles from 2007-09. In 2008, she went on a military goodwill tour with the cheerleaders to Iraq and Kuwait. In her case, it also was a military internship.

"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."

After graduation, she was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Army (She's now a 1st lieutenant stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga.). She went through paratrooper training, but her role was military intelligence.

It would be incorrect to say that Washburn traded her white cheerleader boots for combat boots. The Eagles cheerleaders wear uniforms designed by Vera Wang. But for dancing purposes they wear designer Gant sneakers.

"I like to think it's because we were more athletic and did more complicated routines," said Washburn.

She added that cheerleaders – like women in the military – should not be labeled with stereotypes.

"The woman I met in cheerleading were all incredibly intelligent, ambitious women," she said.""

For the entire article - including some of 1LT Washburn's more interesting experiences while serving in Afghanistan - see:

What do I have to say about the above? Obviously, one thing is:


Latest Activity: Dec 20, 2013 at 12:07 AM

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JimmyMack commented on Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Thank you Sebe. You are thoughtful and more than a wee bit insightful as to how I think.

My wife was Captain of the BI cheerleaders back in the day. She also worked for the Federal Government. Nothing like a beautiful cheerleader to raise ones.....spirit.

sebekm commented on Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Hi Jimmy - to you and Mrs. Jimmy I say: "All Hail The Captains!"

When I read this article about 1LT Washburn, it was right on the heels of reading an article which contained the essence of the information contained in this one:

After digesting both articles, I thought back to my days in the Army and my work in support of the military justice system. The resources of the military justice system back then - in the days of a very small "Women's Army Corps" - was barely able to keep up with all of the "other-than-sexual-harassment crimes" that were being committed. Then as now considering sexual harassment, the numbers really do tell the tale: far fewer women equaled far fewer cases; far more women equal far more cases.

I have no doubt that these new laws/restrictions/rules/regulations/procedures are necessary in the military work environment which we as a society have permitted to evolve over the past 65 years or so. However, when it comes to killing "our enemies" in the interests of "our national security," I have been, am now, and forever shall be a sexist. Warfighting is a job best conducted by MEN. Social experimentation is an unnecessary distraction which requires a monumental number of laws/restrictions/rules/regulations/procedures and an infrastructure to enable them WHICH JUST ISN'T WORTH THE EFFORT. We haven't eliminated (or even gotten a handle on) sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, etc., in the civilian community. I believe we are deluding ourselves if we think we can "solve the problem" in the military, which has always been demonstrated as a "microcosm of society."

Just like politics, I believe our thinking on this issue will cyclically return to "the way it was always done" back when. If and when that happens, I truly believe that we'll all be the better for it - especially our warfighting capability.

sebekm commented on Friday, Dec 20, 2013 at 13:03 PM

...and in fact - thinking more about it - in my first military unit (which was brigade-sized), we had exactly one female. Consequently, there were no "sexual harassment" cases. The woman was the Colonel's civilian secretary, and when some of those crusty old E-7's came around and tried to "harass" her, the Colonel or his deputy kicked their butts.

Simpler times made for easy solutions to far less complicated problems.

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