Charlotte Tuskegee Airman identified almost 80 years after World War II death

He died during a mission out of Italy to Germany.
Lt. Fred L. Brewer's remains were identified almost 80 years after his death during a mission...
Lt. Fred L. Brewer's remains were identified almost 80 years after his death during a mission in Italy.(Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 11:07 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Tuskegee Airman who went missing in action during Wolrd War II has been identified as a Charlotte resident.

U.S. Army Air Forces Second Lieutenant Fred L. Brewer Jr. entered the military in 1942. He served in Maryland and Mississippi before being appointed an aviation cadet and training at Tuskegee Army Air Field, where he graduated with the highest honors, according to a 1945 edition of The Charlotte Observer.

He was posthumously awarded the Air Medal and an Oak Leaf Cluster award.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that he was accounted for in 2023.

Fred Lorenzo Brewer
Fred Lorenzo Brewer(Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

Brewer was believed to have been killed in October of 1944 while piloting an escort mission out of Italy to Germany. Of the 57 total bombers on their way to Germany, 47 returned to base due to heavy fog. Brewer was not among them, according to the DPAA.

Reports show he tried to climb over cloud cover, but the engine of his plane stalled and crashed.

After the war, U.S. personnel found his body and recovered it from an area cemetery. They were not able to identify him at the time.

His unidentified remains were disinterred in 2022 and sent to a DPAA lab for study. Researchers were able to identify Brewer’s remains.

According to DPAA, he is memorialized at Florence American Cemetery’s Tablets of the Missing in Italy. Officials say a rosette will be placed next to his name to show he has been identified.