An Afghan woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl while aboard a U.S. evacuation flight leaving Afghanistan, CNN and other outlets reported on Thursday (Aug. 26). According to a top U.S. general in Europe, the newborn was named “Reach” after the call sign of the aircraft.
“We’ve had further conversations with the mom and the dad of the baby,” Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told reporters at 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.”
According to CNN, the baby’s parents boarded a U.S. military flight to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany after fleeing the Taliban takeover of Kabul. According to the U.S. Air Mobility Command Twitter account, the mother went into labor and “began having complications” before the plane landed.
“The aircraft commander decided to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life,” a tweet read.
Once the plane landed, staff from the Air Force’s 86th Medical Group came aboard to deliver the baby in the aircraft’s cargo bay.
“When I evaluated the patient, we were past the point of no return. That baby was going to be delivered before we could possibly transfer her to another facility,” U.S. Army Captain Erin Brymer, a registered nurse who helped deliver Reach, told CNN.
Brymer added that when “the baby came out screaming” she knew the delivery had been a success.
“... We were able to put her directly on the mom’s chest and get her breastfeeding right away. I was like, ‘Okay, we’re good here,’” she said.
Reach and her mother were then transported to a nearby hospital, where Air Mobility Command said they’re in good condition.
According to Gen. Walters, two other pregnant women who were evacuated from Afghanistan have also given birth. Today, the Pentagon announced that around 88,000 people have been evacuated so far, but thousands more are still trying to leave the country.