James Michael Basile was born on March 9, 1944, in Topeka, Kansas. He was the son of Anthony J. Basile and Vera E. Tripp Basile. He was married to Mary Jane Gibbs Basile.
LTC Basile, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Military Group attached to the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador was killed on July 15, 1987, when the helicopter carrying him crashed into a hillside during stormy weather 10 miles east of San Salvador. This incident resulted in the deaths of 6 Americans.
LTC Basile is now buried in the Memorial Park Cemetery, Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, USA.
The nighttime mission LTC Basile and the others were killed was a medevac effort. Two Special Forces advisers, assigned as trainers at the Salvadoran training base in La Union, had gotten into an argument over a Salvadoran female. During the confrontation, one of the Green Berets shot the other with his M16. Due to the seriousness of the incident senior American military officers were onboard the helicopter as investigators.
Just seven minutes after taking off the pilot was forced to attempt to return to the airfield due to extremely poor weather. It was during this attempt that the crash occurred. The Pentagon identified the victims as: Sgt. 1st Class Lynn Keen, 27, a Special Forces medic; 1st Lt. Gregory J. Paredes, 24, a pilot; Chief Warrant Officer, John D. Raybon, 29, copilot; Spec. 4 Douglas L. Adams, 22, of Corvallis, Ore., the crew chief; and Lt. Col. Joseph L. Lujan, 41, Special Forces. Also killed was Air Force Lt. Col. James M. Basile, 43, of Cheshire, Conn.