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WWII Pilot Fred L. Brewer Jr. Accounted For

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2023 – The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Fred L. Brewer Jr., 23, of Charlotte, North Carolina, killed during World War II, was accounted for Aug. 10, 2023.

In late 1944, Brewer was a pilot with the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, also known as the Tuskegee Airmen, in the European Theater. On Oct. 19, Brewer departed Ramitelli Air Base, Italy, as one of 57 fighters assigned to escort bombers to their targets in Regensburg, Germany. While en route to their targets, the bomber group encountered heavy cloud cover over the Udine area of Italy, which forced several escort fighters to return early. According to another pilot witness, Brewer had attempted a steep climb to get above the cloud cover, which caused the engine of his P-51C Mustang, Traveling Light, to stall. It was reported Brewer’s aircraft had rolled over with the canopy jettisoned, but he was not observed ejecting from the plane. Brewer’s remains were not recovered, and he was subsequently declared missing in action.

In 2011, researchers discovered that an Italian resident of Moggio Udinese, Italy, used airplane wreckage found at a nearby crash site to create a memorial to fallen Americans who died during World War II. Around the same time, researchers analyzed the file for Unknown Remains X-125 Mirandola (X-125), which had been recovered but not identified from the Moggio Udinese civilian cemetery by American forces in 1946. These remains, unable to be identified at the time, were then interred at the Florence American Cemetery in Italy.

In 2022, DPAA and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) exhumed Unknown Remains X-125 for forensic analysis. These remains were sent to the DPAA Laboratory for examination and identification.

To identify Brewer’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis. Brewer’s name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an ABMC site in Impruneta, Italy, along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary-Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission. DPAA would also like to thank the members of the Archeologi dell'Aria forum, the local Italian citizens of the commune of Moggio Udinese, and the MIA Recovery Network for their contributions to research.

Information Provided by Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and CAF RISE ABOVE

Details About The Mission

29 October 1944: The 332d Fighter Group flew four missions. One escorted B-24 bombers of the 49th Bombardment Wing to and from Regensburg. (332d Fighter Group mission report number 103). Two members of the 332d Fighter Group, Captain Alfonza W. Davis, in a P-51D, and 2d Lieutenant Fred L. Brewer, Jr. of the 100th Fighter Squadron in a P-51C, were reported missing that day, Davis over the Gulf of Trieste and Brewer over Germany. (Missing Air Crew Report numbers 9586 and 9600). Two other 29 October 1944 mission reports each noted that the group escorted a P-38 for reconnaissance of the Munich area (332d Fighter Group mission report numbers 104 and 105). Finally, a fourth mission report for the day noted that the 332d Fighter Group escorted two B-25s on a mission to Bredgrad and Glina, Yugoslavia. (332d Fighter Group mission report number 106). On the same day, Major William A. Campbell assumed command of the 99th Fighter Squadron, succeeding Captain Alfonza W. Davis. (99th Fighter Squadron lineage and honors history)

(The above information was taken from the "Tuskegee Airmen Chronology," written by Daniel L. Haulman, PhD, Chief, Organization History Division, Air Force Historical Research Agency)

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