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 enroute 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, 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 WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490.
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.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.
Brewer’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000009CEtjEAG.