As part of their evacuation from Afghanistan, the expectant mother and her husband boarded an Air Force C-17 transport aircraft bound for Germany from a staging base in Qatar. According to a Twitter thread posted by the U.S. Air Mobility Command, the mom-to-be began having complications mid-flight.
“During a flight from an Intermediate Staging Base in the Middle East, the mother went into labor and began having complications,” one of the tweets explained. “The aircraft commander decided to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life.”
With the pregnant woman and unborn child’s conditions stabilized, the Air Force flight continued on to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. However, by the time the long flight landed, the baby apparently couldn’t wait to make an appearance. An Air Force medical team ended up delivering the baby girl in the plane’s cargo hold.
“That baby was going to be delivered before we could possibly transfer her to another facility,” Army Captain and nurse Erin Brymer told CNN. Brymer added she knew everything would be OK when the “baby came out screaming and we were able to put her directly on mom’s chest.”
After the birth, medical officials transferred the Afghan family off the plane and to a hospital for further observation and treatment. Later, U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters shared an update during a press briefing.
“We’ve had further conversations with the mom and the dad of the baby that was born on the C-17 inbound to Ramstein,” Wolters said in the briefing, Business Insider reported. “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 general also added his personal good wishes for the new family and said he hopes the baby girl has her eyes on the skies in the future.
“As you can well imagine, being an Air Force fighter pilot, it’s my dream to see that little girl called Reach grow up and be a U.S. citizen and fly United States fighters in our Air Force,” he said.
As for the baby’s citizenship status, the State Department’s foreign affairs manual states: “A U.S.-registered aircraft outside U.S. airspace is not considered to be part of U.S. territory. A child born on such an aircraft outside U.S. airspace does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of the place of birth.”
In the meantime, congratulations go out to baby Reach and her family! We are so happy you arrived safe and sound.