A baby girl who was born on a U.S. evacuation plane out of Afghanistan on Aug. 21 has been named after the call sign of the aircraft, the head of U.S. European Command told reporters on Aug. 25.
“We’ve had further conversations with the mom and the dad of the baby,” Gen. Tod Wolters, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told reporters at a briefing from the Pentagon. “They named the little girl Reach. And they did so because the call sign of the C-17 aircraft that flew them from Qatar to Ramstein was Reach.”
The aircraft’s call sign is “Reach 828.”
“So, that child’s name will forever be Reach. And as you can well imagine, being an Air Force fighter pilot, it’s my dream to watch that young child called Reach grow up and be a U.S. citizen and fly United States Air Force fighters in our air force,” Wolters added.
The U.S. Air Mobility Command previously reported that the girl’s mother was having labor complications on the Air Force C-17 military aircraft that was en route to Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Aug. 21. The Afghan woman was on the second stage of the evacuation flight that had taken off from a base in Qatar.
The aircraft commander “decided to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life,” according to the Air Mobility Command.
Upon landing, airmen from the 86th Medical Group came aboard the aircraft and helped the mother deliver the baby girl in the cargo bay. The mother and child were then transported to a nearby medical facility and were reported to be in “good condition.”
There have been two other births by Afghan special immigrant visa holders over the past week. Those two babies were not delivered on board an aircraft, but were delivered at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a military hospital operated by the United States Army in Landstuhl, Germany.
“All three babies are good,” Wolters said on Aug. 25.
As of early Aug. 26, the United States and its allies have evacuated more than 88,000 people from Afghanistan since Aug. 15, including 19,000 in the past 24 hours. The U.S. military said that planes have been taking off the equivalent of every 39 minutes, reported Reuters.
However, the U.S. embassy in Kabul advised Americans to avoid traveling to the airport and the airport gates late Aug. 25 unless given individual instruction, citing security threats.
Since the Taliban terrorist organization took full control of the Afghan capital of Kabul on Aug. 15, crowds have flooded to the gates of Kabul airport, desperate for help from U.S. allies to leave the country.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters in Kabul on Aug. 24 that they want all foreign evacuations to be completed by Aug. 31 and will accept “no extensions” to the deadline.