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July 16, 2010

Oroville Mercury Register
April 20, 1942
Corregidor—Just Like Home To Oroville Man
By Wallace Kunkel
Corregidor’s mighty fortress at the mouth of Manila Bay can hold out indefinitely against the Japanese if the defenders have sufficient food, water and ammunition. That’s the opinion of Patrolman Joe Slavicek, who was a gun pointer for three years at Manila Bay forts while serving as a member of company B of the 59th coast artillery from 1926 to 1929. Salvicek knows Corregidor as some people know Oroville, and every bomb dropped on the isle is like a missile plummeted on one’s home.
Just Like Home
“When I saw a picture the other day of the damage done by Japanese bombs, it just took me,” Slavicek said. “there was topside barracks, the very barracks in which I used to live, shattered from a bomb concussion. Why that place was like home to me!” Slavicek said the Japanese might try to rush the island in an “any cost” move, but they will be mowed down by the island’s guns, Salvicek believes. Paratroops, too, wouldn’t have any easy time. “I’d hate to be one of them,” he said. They’d be pickings for our troops.” Slavicek said one man on the island could get ten Japanese easily, and unless units on the island were gassed out or put out of action by a lucky hit, landing parties wouldn’t stand much chance.
Was Expert Gunner
Slavicek was five months at Ft. Hughes and other outposts and the remainder of the time was at Ft. Mills on Corregidor Island. He was gun pointer at one of the biggest guns on the island and had the rank of sergeant. Before taking an army examination for expert gunner he was in charge of five power plants on the island. Even in 1926 the men on Corregidor believed some day the Japanese would strike – and every man on Corregidor was trained to meet the thrust when it came, Slavicek said. “The army knew that some time it would happen,” he added. “Everything pointed to it.” The newspapers in Manila also believed that Japanese would try to take the islands, Slavicek pointed out. How well grounded where their fears is shown by a clipping from the Manila Bulletin of Feb. 24. 1925, from Slavicek’s scrapbook of pictures.

The article, written by Walter Robb, is given below. The headline reads:
“Japan Makes Davao Stepping Stone To Expansion”
A 1925 Prediction

Davao, island of Mindanoa, P.I., Feb. 23—Japanese will produce 500,000 bales of hemp in Davo this year and about 120,000 bales from native production.” Japanese farmers, avidly hungry for land, consort with native women, whom they sometimes marry legally, and hold in the names of these women and their relatives large areas of public land. “The Philippine government knows this, but is unable to prevent or frustrate it. This illustrates the weakness and venality that impose no barriers to Japanese progress here and in future can impose none. “From Davo, come the lucky hour, as it surely will come, Japanese can penetrate all Borneo, lying in sight of the Philippines—the world’s largest island save Australia alone”

Headlines of the day:
“Tokyo Chief Relieved of Command” “MacArthur Given Supreme Command, Plans Strategy”“Bomb Greets First Meeting of Laval Cabinet”
“Tokyo Chief Relieved of Command”
“Japanese broadcast says 10 Medium Bombers Carried Out Raid”

Stu’s Notes: The Headlines tell a lot of what happened the day Joe Slavicek told his story of course we know he guessed wrong and Corregidor fell May 6 1942. But only after American and Filipinos fought hard for 5 months under unbelievable conditions, out of food, water and ammunition, as Joe said would be the only reason they would be overcome. They fought to the bitter end and many wanted to fight on and some did by escaping into the jungles, of course many that were taken prisoner for the next 3 ½ years under the most brutal treatment, like Bob Wolfersberger now of Oroville, blame General MacArthur for the mistakes he made right after Pearl Harbor allowing the Japanese to wreak havoc on our unprotected Army Air Force we had 8 hours warning that the Japanese were coming and as bob say’s we did nothing much to prepare. He has every right to say this as he suffered the consequences. As we now know the 10 medium bombers were more than that they were the now famous 16 Doolittle Raiders. The name Slavicek rung that old bell in my head and checking Daryl’s web I found that a Glen Leroy Slavicek was Killed in Korea, His Father’s name was Joseph Slavicek. Sounds like the above Joe might have been his father or uncle. We will try to find out. He gave so much to his country and sadly, maybe a lot more.