MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The passion shown in Master Gunnery Sgt. Kevin D. Basso’s eyes when he plays the game of softball is the same fire his Marines see when he is teaching them in his work environment, said Bryant K. Searcy, the athletic director for Cherry Point.
Basso has been in the Marine Corps for more than 24 years and he has been playing softball for almost as long.
When Basso speaks about his love for baseball and softball, one can literally watch the fire and drive erupt on his face and in his voice.
“I have played baseball my whole life,” Basso said with a rise in his voice. “When I got into the Marine Corps they had gotten rid of the baseball program and I began playing softball.”
Softball was a whole new beast to tame, said Basso, and he hated it when he first started to play.
“I thought this game was stupid and for old guys,” said Basso. “After playing for more than 22 years, I have learned there is more to the game.”
Basso has spent the last 13 years coaching teams and has used his experience in leading teams to victory to help him mentor Marines.
“I have seen the passion Basso uses on the field and it is inspiring,” said Searcy. “I have talked to his Marines and been told he gets the same way in the office when he is trying to mentor about the Marine Corps.”
When Basso is off the field and in the work space he shows the same obsession for perfection in his day-to-day duties as the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing engineering chief.
“I try to teach my guys on and off the field the same philosophy,” said Basso. “On the field I work hard and expect my players to do the same thing. I expect my Marines in the office to turn in their work at near-perfection.”
Basso is a great influence on all of the people he meets and expects the best effort out of all his players and Marines said Searcy.
“Master Gunny Basso is a winner,” said Searcy. “He has changed the game of softball here at Cherry Point and probably in the Marine Corps. “I have seen the All-Marine softball program grow since he has come in. If he isn’t playing the game he is coaching and teaching new players the game of softball.”
Basso said the way he leads on the field reflects the way he has been lead off the field.
“I have been taught since boot camp that a Marine gives his all in everything he or she does,” said Basso. “I put in my very best in everything I do on and off the field.
“I expect the same out of my players and out of my Marines. If I am willing to dedicate myself 100 percent to teach you something about the game of softball or about being a Marine, then I expect you to give and show me the same amount of effort in living it out.”
Basso enlisted in the Marine Corps expecting to play baseball and that was a a major reason for his enlistment. More than 20 years of competitive softball later he still has the motivation of a new Marine.
“Being a Marine is great,” Basso exclaimed. “But getting to play softball, a game I have grown a huge love for, is just an added bonus.
“Life doesn’t get any better than being on the softball field getting to represent the Marine Corps and your home installation.
“That is a love I have grown to admire and I will continue to teach and learn about the game just like I do with the Marine Corps.”