Amazing Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader Is an Iraq War Army Veteran

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJuly 31, 2013

Being an NFL cheerleader is largely a thankless job, but Megan Welter knows all about such endeavors, because she is an Iraq veteran. Yahoo! Shine's Sarah B. Weir reports on the amazing story of a relatively anonymous cheerleader who spends the season trying to lift the spirits of Cardinals faithful. 

The 28-year-old has been dancing since she was a child, performing in ballet classes when she was three. She also comes from a long line of soldiers. As Weir writes, "her father and grandfather both served in the military."

Strangely, it seems she entered into auditions to become a cheerleader with far more trepidation than she did when she signed up for Officer Training School, which may just be a sign of how remarkable Welter truly is. 

As noted, Welter gave a brief interview to the Cardinals official website, which you can see here

While obviously afraid of what might lay ahead, Welter never questioned her decision to enter the fray, despite knowing what it meant to train as an officer: a guaranteed deployment to Iraq. 

I thought it was the right thing to do. I was deployed to Joint Base Belad which is about an hour north of Baghdad. At first, it was, it was scary you know, but…it's what I signed up to do.

The hard-working soldier was commissioned a second lieutenant in 2007 and later became platoon leader. She is currently an Army reservist.

During the 16 months she was deployed in Iraq, an NFL team's cheerleaders came to Iraq to lift spirits and subsequently piqued her interest.

She picked the cheerleaders' brains as she mulled life after military service. By the time she got back home, the desire to dance was still alive and well. 

The young woman who dove headfirst into officer's training took a reported three years to take the relatively smaller leap into cheerleading. 

Despite not dancing competitively for seven years, Welter made the squad and once again fulfilled a life's dream. 

If Welter wasn't already your favorite person heading into the season, here is what she had to say about what she feels during the National Anthem. 

When you see the flag, it means a lot, you know, because our country has given us so many freedoms, and to be a part of fighting for that and maintaining that, it, it means a lot. So yes, it gives me goosebumps, I can't help it.

There are no trophies or postgame interviews for cheerleaders. They don't have names on the back of their uniforms (not that fans would bother to learn them anyway).

They get paid little and work hard, dedicating themselves to make life just a tad more enjoyable for those in the stadium. 

Welter isn't concerned with such things as accolades and rounds of applause from a stadium filled with fans. 

However, she certainly deserves them, and so do the multitude of heroes who served alongside her in Iraq. 


Hit me up on Twitter