A baby born on a U.S. transport aircraft that was evacuating Afghan citizens has been named Reach after the plane's call sign.
Air Force General Tod Wolters confirmed the child's aviation-inspired name during a Pentagon press conference on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
"We've had further conversations with the mom and the dad of the baby that was born on the C-17 inbound to Ramstein, (Germany)," said Wolters. "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 child, who was born on Saturday, August 21, is one of at least three babies born during the still-ongoing evacuation from Afghanistan, but is the only child born on an aircraft. The other two babies were born in a medical facility, according to Wolters; all three children and their families are "good."
The baby's birth was first confirmed by Air Mobility Command last weekend. The organization said on social media that the child's mother went into labor while the evacuating flight was in the air, and the child was delivered after the plane had landed at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The air base has become a staging area for thousands of Afghan evacuees, according to NBC News.
Wolters joked that the baby's unique birth story might lead to a future in the United States Air Force.
"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.
According to Air Mobility Command's Facebook page, the baby's mother experienced some complications, but the pilot of the transport was able to adjust their flight path to keep everyone safe.
"During an evacuation flight from an Intermediate Staging Base in the Middle East, the mother went into labor and began experiencing complications due to low blood pressure," said the organization. "The aircraft commander made the decision to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life."
The Air Mobility Command said that airmen from the 86th Medical Group boarded the plane once it landed and delivered the child in the transport's cargo bay. The mother and child were transported to a nearby medical facility.