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Sgt. Choken: 1943

Sgt. Choken: 1943

July 1943. "Myrtle Beach, S.C. Air Service Command. Mobile chief Technical Sergeant Vasile Choken, whose home is in Akron, Ohio. In civilian life he drove a truck, ran a filling station and spent two years in the Civilian Conservation Corps." Photo by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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I am Romanian and I can tell you that his name was previously Ciocan, which in Romanian language means "hammer" -- a very suitable name for this nice guy.

Vasile Choken, my father

First and foremost he was a good man. He had the most amicable and easygoing disposition of anyone I have ever met.

The original spelling of the name was Ciokan but at roll call they could never pronounce it so he changed it to the phonetic spelling of Choken.

He was also a good soldier, he was later sent to Officer's School where he received his commission and became a flight engineer on B-25's and B-17's.

He was married to the love of his life, Helen, for 57 years. He had four children (two boys, two girls). I'm his younger son.

When he left the service he returned to Akron, where he spent most of his adult life. He retired from the Akron Board of Education after 35 years.

All in all a good life well spent.


That's my dad.

[What can you tell us about him? - Dave]

Eat your heart out, Bruce Weber!

Vasile. What a beautiful Romanian name.

Handsome Rake!!

Dave, you have to add this guy to the list. Your attention to the Rake department lags disgracefully behind your identification of Pretty Girls. Do I have to boycott or something? Don't make us girls go hunting all over 5 zillion images for our cheesecake when the men have it all helpfully labeled for them.

Hubba hubba. Rowr.

[Alright. He now ranks among the rakes. - Dave]

Jeez Louise

Holy cow, that boy is hot*.

Please, let's have more of the same.

* Yeah, yeah. I know. Does it really matter? The boy is smokin'.

Wheels Down

Sgt. Choken is hereby cleared for approach. Night landings especially. Hubba hubba!

A 65 year difference

65 years ago, 25 year old guys probably had worked 2 or more jobs to make ends meet and either joined up or were drafted into the war effort. Today the majority of 25 year olds are trying to pay off huge college debt, trying to find a job, and probably living in their parents' basement. I think I'd rather be smoking an unfiltered Camel.

Oh my

Hubba hubba!

Service Man

Shag that? Sure I would. He's a handsome guy. You can see what might have made American troops welcome lots of places if they were all as cute as this guy. (He's the age of my father who was also in the Army during WWII. He'd be appalled at these sentiments of mine!)

July 1943

My birthday!!!


Thanks Shorpy, for providing me with pictures of all these good looking men.

Hazards of smoking

Mr. Choken smoked unfiltered cigarettes and lived to 86. Maybe he quit at a young age.

Shag tobacco

In the Netherlands (where I am from) rolling your own "sjekkies" is still a very common practice. One can purchase a wallet size pouch with fine-cut tobacco pretty much in any supermarket, drugstore or kiosk, along with "vloei" -- very thin rolling paper.

My Grandfather used to have a little rolling machine which he primarily used to roll his sigarettes after he suffered a stroke rendering the left side his body pretty much limp.

Chokem vs. Choken

Looks like Jack Delano got the surname slightly wrong. There is no Chokem in the Social Security Death Index. But:

Birth Date: 14 Jan 1918
Death Date: 20 Aug 2004
Social Security Number: 285-12-3952
State or Territory Where Number Was Issued: Ohio

Death Residence Localities
ZIP Code: 44313
Localities: Akron, Summit, Ohio
Fairlawn, Summit, Ohio

Ciggie terminology

Back in my hometown regular folks, farmers and shop workers were said to smoke "rolled" cigarettes, which they made themselves, while executives and the well off could afford "tailored" cigarettes bought at the corner store.

At Christmas, tailored cigarettes, packaged in lovely tin humidors, were considered a classy gift for Dad or that special guy.

A cig and a squint

Aside from the sporty all American ballcap, this fellow gives off a nice Clint Eastwood vibe. I nominate him for the Handsome Rakes gallery. He must be bachin' it, as any woman he kept handy would probably shave the little Brillo pad growing at the nape of his neck.

Times have changed

During WWII, cigarettes were 5 cents a pack for the military through the PX, and I am told that in combat zones they were free. I recently read in Stars & Stripes that the Department of Defense has instituted a program to eradicate smoking in the military in the next 20 years.

Chokem if you got 'em!

Sorry, I just had to.

He's smoking an unfiltered. Notice that the brand name is toward the lit end.

Reminds me

of those cigarette ads that featured sports figures who espoused the merits of a good smoke to enhance performance.

Johnny U, I miss you.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

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