CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Remains uncovered in Italy after World War II have been identified as Second Lieutenant Fred L. Brewer Jr., a North Carolina native and Tuskegee Airman.
The Pentagon and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Brewer's identity was confirmed on Aug. 10, 2023.
Brewer went missing while piloting one of 57 fighter planes escorting bombers on a mission to Regensburg, Germany, on Oct. 29, 1944. The airplanes ran into heavy cloud cover in southern Italy, forcing 47 of the fighters to return to base.
Brewer was not among those who returned. He had reportedly been attempting to climb his airplane out of the cloud cover when he stalled and fell into a spin.
Remains were recovered after the war in a civilian cemetery in the area, but technology at the time was unable to identify the remains. So they were interred as an unknown.
New techniques allowed scientists with the Department of Defense to reexamine the remains and identify them as belonging to Brewer.
According to our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer, Brewer was a native of Charlotte who graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh in 1942. He enlisted in the Army the following year and trained as a pilot at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.
A cousin of Brewer told The Washington Post that funeral arrangements had not yet been made, but she wanted to see Brewer properly buried in Charlotte.