An Afghan baby born on an evacuating aircraft was named 'Reach' after the call sign of the plane

An Afghan baby born on an evacuating aircraft was named 'Reach' after the call sign of the plane
A U.S. Marine assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) holds a baby during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021. Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marine Corps/Handout via Reuters
  • A baby delivered on an aircraft fleeing Kabul was named after the plane's call sign: Reach.
  • Reach is one of at least three babies born amid the ongoing Afghanistan evacuation.
  • Two babies were born in a medical facility, but Reach was actually born on a US C-17 transport plane.

An Afghan woman gave birth to a baby girl in the cargo hold of a US transport aircraft carrying evacuees, and the parents decided to name the baby after the call sign for the aircraft - Reach 828.

"We've had further conversations with the mom and the dad of the baby that was born on the C-17 inbound to Ramstein," Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters said at a Pentagon press briefing Wednesday.

"They named the little girl 'Reach,'" he said, "and they did so because the call sign of the C-17 aircraft that flew them from Qatar to Ramstein was 'Reach.'"

Reach was one of at least three babies born amid the ongoing efforts to evacuate people out of Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover, but this child was the only baby to be born inside an aircraft.

Wolters, who heads US European Command, confirmed the other two infants were born in a medical center.


Air Mobility Command first announced the birth of the baby girl, now known as Reach, on Saturday, revealing that the mother went into labor on a flight from a staging base in the Middle East.

There were complications, but quick thinking by the aircraft commander stabilized the situation and likely saved the mother's life, the command said.

After the plane landed, personnel from the 86th Medical Group boarded the plane and helped the woman deliver her baby. Both the mother and baby, which were relocated from the C-17 to a nearby medical facility, were reported to be in good condition.

Though she was born in an American C-17 Globemaster III airlift plane, it is unclear if Reach would qualify for US citizenship.

According to the Department of State's foreign affairs manual, "a US-registered aircraft outside US airspace is not considered to be part of US territory. A child born on such an aircraft outside US airspace does not acquire US citizenship by reason of the place of birth."


Wolters suggested he hopes the baby will one day become a US citizen and join the Air Force.

"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 US citizen and fly United States fighters in our Air Force," Wolters said with a grin.