At least three babies have been born during the airlift mission out of Kabul, as U.S. and international aircraft race to fly out at-risk Afghans and American citizens from the now Taliban-controlled country.
Air Mobility Command on Aug. 21 said that during a C-17 flight from a staging base to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, an Afghan woman went into labor and began to experience complications. The aircraft commander of the flight, call sign REACH 828, descended to increase air pressure in the plane, “which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life.”
When the C-17 landed, Airmen from Ramstein’s 86th Medical Group boarded the plane and delivered the child in the cargo bay.
“The baby girl and mother were transported to a nearby medical facility and are in good condition,” AMC wrote.
Army Capt. Erin Brymer, a labor and delivery nurse at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, said the plane had about 300 passengers on board when she arrived, with four other Afghan women holding up shawls to give her privacy. Through a language barrier, American nurses coached the woman through labor. And the baby turned out to be “picture perfect,” Brymer said.
“I really appreciate the news reporting on the baby being born as that flight came into Ramstein back there,” said U.S. Transportation Command boss Gen. Stephen R. Lyons during an Aug. 23 briefing. “There’s actually been more than that, so it’s just an incredible operation ongoing. Just impressive work by our Airmen.”
When asked what “more than that” meant, Lyons said his last “data point” was that three children have been born, though there is not a “formal tracker.”
Additional information about the other two babies was not available the afternoon of Aug. 23.
U.S. State Department policy says the children are not eligible for American citizenship because they were born on a military plane. “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,” according to the State Department.