phrase: refers to someone
deceased in a military accident or operation. Phrase predates World War II, but came into common use at that
time due to the large numbers of training casualties due inexperienced
pilots/crewmembers trained in aircraft that
are much less reliable than today. Common accidents
areas would result in aircraft crashing into barns, fields, or rural
property, resulting in damages. The US Government would compensate the affected property owners with checks
to pay for damages, or in some cases condemn land contaminated with undetonated/unlocated munitions/weapons, in effect
"buying the farm".
"28 of us started out in my class
in UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) but only 11 of us earned our wings. 13 washed out, 2 got held
back, and Higgins and Baker bought the farm when they lost power on climb-out."