"Falling Out Like Flies"
By Joe Lipsius
Regtl Hq 272nd Inf Rgt  

GI Joe
Pvt. Joseph (nmi) Lipsius

            I have no idea by whom, where or when this expression originated.  I associate it with an experience early on in my days in the Army.  

            I reported to the Bus Station in Montgomery, Alabama, in the morning, October 23, 1941, as a draftee with others, for a 100 mile or so trip to Fort McClellan, adjacent to Anniston, Alabama, and induction into the Army.  Whether there was more than one bus load, I don't recall.  On arrival, we were herded into a large building occupied by many men where various physical examinations were given, then a group swearing and acceptance into the Army.  

            The next day, hundreds of us boarded a train bound for destination unknown.  Including the short time at McClellan, and on the train, I learned men from Tennessee, Mississippi and elsewhere were in the group.  As the train chugged along, I soon began to see familiar Georgia landscapes and towns along US Highway 78, better known as the Bankhead Highway, which snakes through Georgia, along the railroad tracks at many places .  Lo and behold, it was not long before we pulled into a place announced to be Ft McPherson, on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, a place well known to me because of residing in Atlanta up to January, 1940.  

            After several days of various activities, early one morning we were called out of the barracks, lined up and marched to a set of barracks where it seemed a line of men were stretched ahead alongside five or six or more barracks, moving slowly and taking a turn at the end of one of them.  It didn't take but a few minutes  for us newcomers to the line to learn at the end of the turn, Medics were giving shots of all description.   Even before the turn to the Medics, here and there a man would slump to the ground, I suppose in anticipation of what was around the corner.            

            When we finally rounded the corner, the line ahead to the Medics must have been more than a 100 men.  Soon, the rate of falling out increased drastically as the administrating of shots were in full view and an occasional recipient would slowly drop in view.  Never fear, the Medics were near!  The drop-outs were brought to their feet, revived, and none missed the dreaded shots.  

              No!  I did not fall out. 

            "Falling Out Like Flies" became a new phrase in my vocabulary as I recounted what became a humorous experience many times over the years and used it to explain what I felt was happening to those not so fortunate to anticipate the "dreaded shots".