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.
"I am so proud of Rachel and all of her extraordinary accomplishments. She has tremendous courage and has made an amazing impact on the lives of others," said Barbara Zaun, Eagles director of cheerleading.