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Finally, after almost 80 years of being reported missing during the Second World War, the remains of a Tuskegee airmen has been identified according to the Defense Department.
The pilot, Second Lt. Fred L. Brewer Jr., was a North Carolina native and Shaw University graduate who operated a P-51C Mustang nicknamed “Traveling Light.”
On October 29, 1944, Brewer was one of the 57 fighters who joined a bomber escort mission over Regensburg, Germany who ran into heavy cloud cover in southern Italy.
Only 47 out of the 57 fighters returned home – and Brewer was not among them. According to reports from other pilots, they last saw Brewer attempting to climb out of the clouds but he ultimately stalled out and fell into a spin.
The NC native’s body was recovered by US personnel from a civilian cemetery in Italy following the war, but the available technologies at the time were unsuccessful in identifying the remains. At the time of his death, Brewer was awarded the Purple Heart and an Air Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster.
Brewer’s remains were sent to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory in June 2022, which finally led to the agency positively identifying Brewer just last month.
For now, his family is asking that the young Tuskegee airman be buried in Charlotte. May he finally rest in peace.