Hero WWII Pilot’s Body Found 79 Years After He Crashed

A hero black US fighter pilot’s remains have been found 79 years after he went missing during a mission during World War II, it has emerged.

Second Lt. Fred L. Brewer Jr., 23, disappeared while protecting Allied bombers during a raid on targets in Regensburg, Germany, on 19th October, 1944.

Brewer, from the 100th Fighter Squadron, was last seen alive as he took off from the Ramitelli Air Base in Italy.

He was one of less than a thousand black pilots trained to fly at a segregated airfield during the war.

WW II pilot Fred L. Brewer Jr., 23, poses in undated photo. He went missing in late 1944, his remains were found an identified on Aug. 10, 2023. (DoD/Newsflash)

During the mission the group hit thick cloud cover over northern Italy, says the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

Brewer attempted a steep climb to rise above the clouds, which caused his P-51C Mustang named ‘Traveling Light’ to stall.

His aircraft is said to have rolled over and although the cockpit the canopy was jettisoned no one saw him eject.

Brewer’s body was never recovered and he was declared missing in action.

But in 2011, wreckage from the plane’s crash site was discovered at a memorial built in Moggio Udinese by locals as a tribute to fallen US troops.

Bodies from the shrine were transferred to the Florence American Cemetery and in 2022 DNA experts began analysing the remains.

Astonishingly one was found to be Fred Brewer, the DPAA identity laboratory revealed on 1st September in a statement obtained by Newsflash.

His name had been listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Impruneta, Italy, alongside others still missing from World War II.

Now a rosette will be added next to his name to indicate that he has been found and accounted for, the DPAA said.

WW II pilot Fred L. Brewer Jr., 23, poses in undated photo. He went missing in late 1944, his remains were found an identified on Aug. 10, 2023. (DoD/Newsflash)

Robena Brewer Harrison, a cousin of the US Air pilot, told local media: “I remember how devastating it was when they notified my family, my aunt and uncle, that he was missing.

“It just left a void within our family. My aunt, who was his mother, Janie, she never, ever recovered from that.”

Harrison said the family hopes to have Brewer’s remains buried back home on US soil.

Brewer finished his education at Shaw University in Raleigh, the first college for Black students in the US South.

He enlisted in the military in November 1943 and, by March 1944, he became a pilot at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.

He is the second of the Tuskegee Airmen from World War II who went missing to be recognised.

The first was Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson from New York, who crashed his aircraft in Austria in 1944. His remains were recognised in 2018, local media reported.

More than 72,000 American service members who were killed in Word War II are still unaccounted for, the DPAA said.

Picture shows the records of the medal of WW II pilot Fred L. Brewer Jr., 23, undated. He went missing in late 1944, his remains were found an identified on Aug. 10, 2023. (DoD/Newsflash)

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Simona KitanovskaSub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash

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