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Eagles cheerleader to be honored for time in Afghanistan as soldier

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A Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader is going to be honored for not just her service with the NFL team, but now for her service in the military. CNN reported on Dec. 22, 2013, that Rachel Washburn was once a cheerleader in the NFL, but has since traded in her pompoms so that she could serve her country and she is now a first lieutenant in the United States Army.

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles are to honor their former cheerleader (2007-2009) as a Hometown Hero.

Washburn didn't just go into the military and keep quiet. She has received a Bronze Star, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and one of those tours was with the new Cultural Support Program that the Army has put in place.

"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," she told the Philadelphia Eagles website.

The 25-year-old former Eagles cheerleader said that she has compared much of the stress she had with the NFL team to that she has faced in the Army. She knows they are totally different, but tries to associate the two so she can make it through.

Washburn's father nominated her for the honor with the Eagles.

"I watched her go through two tours in Afghanistan and all of the things that she sacrificed," he said. "It was not a very easy couple of tours and I just really kind of thought, 'Man, what a homecoming that would be if (the Eagles) recognized her for that.'"

The former Eagles cheerleader returned from Afghanistan back in Nov. of 2013, and is currently stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

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