"Falling Out Like Flies"
By Joe Lipsius
Regtl Hq 272nd Inf Rgt
Pvt. Joseph (nmi) Lipsius
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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".