From a pro football cheerleader for the Eagles to an army soldier is quite a leap. But for Rachel Washburn, who obviously has the smarts to do more, left the fluff scene for a position as an Army intelligence officer with a special ops unit in Afghanistan.
She is also on a mission to connect with the local women, something that would be a big cultural no-no for men. Washburn says, she would wear "a pretty head scarf" to help connect with Afghan women. She also helped deliver an Afghan baby during a snowstorm. What can't this beautiful woman do?
Washburn, 25, who recently returned from her second tour in Afghanistan, will be honored Sunday night as a "Hometown Hero" by the Eagles.
When USA Today asked her about the reactions she received from her fellow soldiers, she simply said, "Initially, it was kind of a novelty to people I met if they ever found out."
And further, "It's kind of a bit of a shock. You don't expect those two things to go hand in hand with one person."
But Rachel was involved in the military, in one way or another, most of her life. Her father was an Army helicopter pilot and Air Force fighter pilot which uprooted her family 17 or 18 times. She was also an Army ROTC student during her three seasons with the Eagles.
"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."
Washburn is also a History major at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
According to Washburn, her military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Badge, Airborne Badge and Air Assault Badge.
Washburn also said she has about a year left in the Army, but she is considering signing on for a few more years. "There are some opportunities that are enticing me."
Image via YouTube