December 1, 2023
His body was discovered some 80 years after World War II.
The remains of Fred Brewer Jr. will be laid to rest on Dec. 6 in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Brewer, a Tuskegee Airman, went missing almost 80 years ago in 1944 while escorting a bomber during a raid over Germany. For decades, his family wondered what happened to him, but the mystery has been solved thanks to forensic science. Tests determined that Brewer’s plane went into a tailspin while he attempted to exit out of a thick patch of fog. His remains were later found in Florence, Italy, and were identified in early 2023.
Visitation will be held at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, one of the largest Black churches in the Queen City, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. The burial will occur at the VA Salisbury National Cemetery outside of Charlotte.
After the news broke of his remains being found, one of his family members, Brenda, said this brings not only closure to the family but to his name and legacy. “This has been my life’s mission,” she said. “He is no longer X-125, who came up out of that grave in Florence, Italy. He is Fred Brewer, Second Lieutenant.”
Fellow service members like World War II veteran Andrew Pendleton were excited to hear the news. Although he never met Brewer, he will never forget how the Red Tail airmen protected his crew during the war. “We were two fellows doing our jobs, helping each other. But we never met,” Pendleton said. “They would fly next to us to keep the German plans for attacking us.”
The veteran admits that his mind isn’t what it used to be, but the memories stay the same. With the help of a friend, Laura Stotts, who works with fellow veterans, Stotts found logs from the war that showed Pendleton worked on a mission on the same day, in the same region and exact same target, where Lt. Brewer crashed.
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