Originally from Alexandria, Va., Baskin and his wife, Irene, live in West Covina, Calif. Baskin has three children of his own: Devontae, 19; Alexis, 10; and Brianna, 4. His wife has a 4-year-old son, Alexander.
Tough economic times made it difficult for many to donate to the 2008 Toys for Tots campaign, but thanks to Gunnery Sgt. James Baskin, Los Angeles area children never knew the difference.
Baskin developed and implemented a plan that enabled his unit to collect “more toys than originally thought possible,” earning him the nickname “Gunny Clause,” wrote his supervisor, 1st Sgt. Jorge O. Chavarin. Because of his efforts, Baskin also was recognized by the County and City of Los Angeles, as well as numerous community organizations.
As the company motor transportation chief, Baskin ensures that approximately 100 tactical vehicles consistently maintain above a 96 percent combat readiness rate. He also serves as the Combat Fitness Test Instructor and made sure the regiment’s inspector/instructor Marines — dispersed over six sites and three states — were qualified and in compliance before the deadline.
Baskin also serves as the assistant family readiness officer and battalion safety manager. “[Gunnery Sgt.] Baskin continues to uphold the three pillars that provide the foundation for Marine ethos: honor, courage and commitment. In fact, in my 21 years of faithful service, I have never met a gunnery sergeant of his caliber,” Chavarin wrote.