JEFF CAPLAN

My Minute of News: Afghan baby born on US jet shows freedom in “Reach”

Aug 30, 2021, 1:33 PM | Updated: 1:33 pm
afghan baby born on tarmac at ramstein air base...
A baby girl born on a US military evacuation flight en route to Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Saturday has been named Reach after the call sign of the aircraft. Photo: US Air Mobility Command

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

KABUL, Afghanistan — The heartbreaking story of 13 brave Americans who gave their lives in the name of freedom in Afghanistan rightfully took up a lot of air time the last few days, but I wanted to make sure the story of an Afghan baby who was born in the midst of the Kabul airlift doesn’t get lost. 

Rescue efforts save pregnant Afghan woman

As American forces raced to help evacuate Afghan refugees, one of the people they rescued was a pregnant woman whose name remains unknown. We’ve never seen her face. 

However, we do know she got out of Afghanistan, and went into labor on the evacuation flight to Germany. Stuffed aboard one of those cavernous airborne warehouses you’ve seen all over the news, a C-17 Globemaster with the call sign Reach 828. 

The passengers and crew around her in the back of the plane used scarves to form curtains and give Mom a little privacy. But the Afghan woman’s blood pressure plunged, a life-threatening complication, so the pilot quickly dropped Reach 828 to a lower altitude to help stabilize the woman and baby. 

No going back for Afghan baby 

When the giant C-17 screeched its tires to a stop on the asphalt at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, nurses ran aboard, including Army Capt. Erin Brymer. 

“When I evaluated the patient, we were past the point of no return,” Brymer told CNN. “That baby was going to be delivered before we could possibly transfer her to another facility.” 

So the baby was born on a US Air Force cargo jet. 

“When the baby came out screaming, and we were able to put her directly on Mom’s chest and get her breastfeeding right away, I was like, ‘Okay. We’re good here,” Brymer said. 

Reaching for the stars

A newborn Afghan baby, born free from the Taliban, delivered by a mother so grateful she named her child Reach, after that jet. 

Though born on the tarmac of a US air base, Reach is not automatically a US citizen. But Gen. Tod D. Wolters told reporters he dreams Reach will grow up to be a US citizen who flies a fighter jet for the Air Force.

This baby Afghan could one day “Reach” for the sky, thanks to the bravery and sacrifice of American heroes in Kabul. 

“My Minute of News” airs weekdays 3 to 7 p.m. during Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio. 

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My Minute of News: Afghan baby born on US jet shows freedom in “Reach”