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Sent 8/30/2017


Navy Football kicks off the season with the first game against FAU this Saturday at 8:00 EST on ESPNU. We will kick off the tailgate season in Annapolis on Saturday September 9th against Tulane at 11:30 am at NMCS in our usual Tailgate spot. This is a catered tailgate and I have asked for those attending to please email or text me with RSVP. If you have not, please do so which allows me to order the correct amount of food for those attending. As always, I will ask all of you attending to drop around $25 in the donation box to cover food, beer and wine which we are providing (That is a cheap afternoon to say the least!). We will be introducing our updated tailgate experience with the new Class of ’85 tent, trailer and TV system. Beer on tap will be Beat Army Lager provided by classmate Dave Marquis. If you are in town that weekend, please stop by and say hi to Dave and Carolyn at the Chesapeake Brewing Company located at 114 West Street Annapolis. Good food and brews on tap….the Class of ’85 Bar!

I want to once again thank and congratulate the Class of ’85 Officers:

We will be working hard to keep the GREAT Class of ’85 tops across the board. Angela has updated our class website, so please favorite our site: http://1985.usnaclasses.net. I will continue to use this site as a tool to keep all of you informed on all things ’85. This includes information about tailgates and class gatherings. For example, we have the registration link for the Class of ’85 weekend in San Diego in 2018 for the Notre Dame game. I will use our class site for registrations for tailgates to help us get accurate head counts.  Please take a minute to visit our site and update yourself on class happenings. Going forward, I will use less emails and more communication on Facebook and via the class website (hint!). For the Tulane game, still contact me. But going forward we will have sign up information for our home tailgates on the class site. Looking ahead, we will do a “Bring your favorite Fried Bird” (and sides) for the Air Force game on October 7 when we roast the Falcons; and the Homecoming game will be fully catered on October 21st. We have purchased a grill and will debut that at the Cincinnati game on Sept. 23rd. That will be a “Bring your own meat” tailgate. We are rolling out updates to how we tailgate, so more info will be put out as we get more content online.
For now, let me know if you are coming to the Tulane game: robertsmith5@att.net or 502-432-6185. Go Navy and Beat FAU. See you all soon.
Regards,  Bob Smith ’85

NOTE:  Pages for the various registrations should be up by 9/4/17.  I will be posting a note regarding those as well as soliciting pictures, information for a class business directory, and any other suggestions you may have.  Please feel free to email me directly angela.orlando@1985.usna.com !  Thanks all – Angela

Sent 8/22/2017



I am proud to announce we have an official slate of officers for our Class of 1985 Election. Classmate Tom Plofchan has confirmed our list of nominees to all offices and they are as follows:

  • President: Robert Smith
  • Vice President: Steven Pimpo
  • Treasurer: William Ridings
  • Corresponding Secretary: Victor Otero
  • IT Secretary: Angela Orlando

In consult with Tom and the USNA Alumni Association, since every officer was nominated and seconded by another classmate and all offices are unopposed, we will declare that each of these nominees has been elected to the office for which they were nominated. I appreciate your confidence in these nominees, and now officers, and I appreciate your confidence in me as well. We will continue to work as a team to provide the GREAT Class of ’85 with best of tailgating, travel, fundraising in support of USNA and Class projects, and our Class support of the USNA Mission. I will ask my new treasurer to put out of a Class financial statement in short order so that you can see our current finances and we will put forward some of our goals moving ahead. For me, that is taking the Class tailgating experience to a new level of excellence this season and building upon that each game and each season, successful planning and execution of the Hawaii and Notre Dame away games next season and putting together another great reunion in 2020 for our 35th Class Reunion. What do we need from you?  Continued support on the attendance side of things as well as financial support both for the Class and for our support of the USNA Mission. I know you will step up as you always do and once again thank you for taking part in this process and making these nominees official in their positions. If you have questions about Class business, feel free to contact me: 502-432-6185 or Robertsmith5@att.net. If you have questions about the election process, please email Tom Plofchan at: tplofchan@aol.com.  Go Navy, Beat Tulane and Beat Army!!  Bob Smith ’85

Sent  8/9/2017

Class of ’85,

I received some sad news from classmate Duncan Simms regarding our classmate and his 32nd company mate Dan Matzke. Here is the email that Duncan sent to me:

32nd Company Classmates,

Over the weekend I received news from Dan’s ex-wife Angela.  I am sad to convey the news that Danny passed away peacefully this past Saturday morning around 4:30am.  As many of you know, Dan was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease approximately 10 years ago.  Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that causes both physical and mental deterioration over time.  At the time, Dan was given approximately 5 years – he stuck it out for 10.

I (among others) had been keeping in touch with Danny through the years, and I tried to visit him in Denver when I could.  My most recent visit was in May of this year.  Despite his condition, Dan always had a terrific outlook on life.  He introduced me around to his various caretakers, and he talked about how good the food was at his living facility.  We went to a Colorado Rockies game along with his 2 sons.  He seemed remarkably content.   I didn’t notice any significant change in his condition as compared to the previous couple of years.  Shortly after I was there Dan caught a bad flu which ultimately pulled him down.  He was in hospice care and had sufficient pain medication to keep him comfortable during his final days.

I don’t have many details from Angela, but here’s what I know:  Danny’s body will be cremated and his family will spread the ashes in either Annapolis or San Diego.  There will be no funeral.  Angela is going to organize a small celebration of life ceremony, but it sounds like attendance will be for family only.  The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society is organizing its 13th annual ‘Heroes Vs. Villains’ Team Hope Walk & 5K on Saturday, September 9th.  Angela has created a “Team Dan Matzke” in this event to raise money in Dan’s name for the fight against HD.  I will pass along a link to a website where donations can be made in Danny’s name as soon as I receive it from Angela.

Despite the ugly, debilitating effects of his disease, Danny had an unfailingly positive attitude.  He always impressed me with his joyfulness and embrace of life.  He never stopped loving a beautiful day, an action movie, a baseball game, and his 2 sons.  He looked back fondly on his time at the Naval Academy and the friends that he made there including all of you.  Attached is the most recent photo I have of him.  I will miss him.

I thought it was appropriate to notify this group first of Danny’s passing.  Please pass this news along to the other 32nd company classmates who are not copied here.  Later this evening I will post a notice to the Class of ’85 page on the USNA Alumni Association website.

I regret to have to pass this sad news along at the beginning of a new week.  I hope you are all doing well in your lives, families, and careers.

Fair winds and following seas to Danny.  Best wishes to you all.

The Class of ’85 will support his family in any way we can and I ask all of you to keep Dan and his family in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. Thanks very much.  Bob Smith ’85

Sent 3/20/2017


I must first admit that I screwed up. I was given this information in February about the passing of Ron Zaleski, 34th Company, and since the USNAA Website was down, I tabled this information and forgot to timely pass it on when my mass email capability was turned back on. All I can say is: “No Excuse Sir”. We have always and WILL always support our own as our primary mission and I will be asking for someone to run as my Class Secretary this Spring who I can rely on for these matters. In any case, we are all saddened to report that Ron passed on February 15th. He is remembered as a great classmate and member of the Navy Football Team,  a member of the 34th Company and a loyal Marine. Here is a link to his obituary and I hope those of you who knew him might reach out to his family in support as I have, and all of us say a prayer for Ron and his family: http://www.cressfuneralservice.com/obituary/178523/Ronald-Zaleski/.

My next email will be to outline procedures for the upcoming class election. If you are interested in running, I will have more information on the offices (including mine, although I would be honored to remain as your president) in emails and on the class website. Thanks to Brian McDonald for pointing Ron’s passing out to me. If anyone ever knows of a classmate in “distress” or who needs help or who passes, please feel free to reach out to me so we can rally support behind that person. Go Navy and my regards and apology,  Bob Smith ’85

Sent 8/16/2017

Greetings Class of ’85,

It is that time of year to announce the kickoff of the Navy Home Football Season on September 9th against Tulane at 3:30 PM at NMCS, tailgate opens at 11:30 AM. Class of ’85 will be unveiling the new class tent that many of you so generously donated to purchase, as well as our new Class of ’85 Party trailler that will house a large flat screen TV and sound system that will be part of all home games this season (weather permitting). Charlie Smith and I have been working behind the scenes to take our class tailgating experience to the next level and you will see that when you attend our class tailgates this year. I appreciate Charlie’s support and if you care to volunteer this season to assist Charlie set up and take down for any of the games, please reach out to him at: charles.m.smith@gmail.com so he can get you on his schedule. The first game will be catered by Chris Hannan ’94 (Chris owns Bo Brooks catering and now McGarvey’s), he will be working with us again this season to provide catering for select tailgates starting with the opening game. Our menu will be his Place Kick Picnic and consist of:

Grilled ½ lb. Hamburgers
Grilled ¼ lb. Hot Dogs
Power Blend Cole Slaw
Potato Salad
Old Bay Chips with onion dip
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Rolls and Condiments

We will once again be serving Beat Army Lager courtesy of Classmate Dave Marquis and The Chesapeake Brewing Company as well as wine and limited non-alcoholic beverages. We will ask all those in attendance to donate at least $25 per person to the class donation box if you choose to eat and drink that day. I will not be collecting admission for our class tailgates, but in order to keep up the quality of class tailgating, I will ask those of you who attend to keep up with the spirit of class giving and the honor code and put your money into the Class donation box. If you like what we are doing and have not contributed toward the class tent or new Tent/TV/Trailer/Sound System/Tables…. feel free to throw some extra money in the box, it will be put to good use.

Charlie and I are going to have a special theme for every home game and will soon be purchasing a gas grill to have at certain tailgates so that people can bring their own meat and let our guest grillers do the cooking and everyone signs up to bring side dishes according to the theme for that week. Looking ahead, we will do a Fried Chicken Day for the Air Force game on 10/7 and will do another fully catered tailgate at Homecoming on 10/21. That leaves us two more games for BYOF (Bring your own food) and we will announce those themes as we get more into the season. Charlie will be adding a sign up site so people can sign up to bring needed sides, this helps us get the right mix of food for those attending and not a 1000 bags of chips and no desserts. Unless you do not like burgers and dogs, just bring $25 to the first game.

I do need a head count for the first game, however, so if you are planning to attend, please shoot me a text or email with the number attending in your group: 502-432-6185 or robertsmith5@att.net so I can order the right amount of food and beverages. Remember to contact Charlie if you wish to help him out this season on our tailgate committee.

Looking ahead, we plan on having a tailgate at the Army Game in Philadephia at the Holiday Inn Stadium Sports Bar as we have in past years, more to follow. Sign ups continue for the 2018 Notre Dame game in San Diego. Here is the link to reserve your rooms:  https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/events/start.action?id=1707110058&key=22EF9EF9 I have several reservations already made, so thank you. Looking really far down the road, I have contracted for the 2020 Class Reunion with the Westin Hotel. I will announce the date soon so you can make your long term plans. We will hope to once again raise the bar of excellence we set at the 30th Reunion.

For now, please respond to me about the opening game against Tulane and enjoy the rest of your summer. Go Navy, Beat Army and Tulane!! Regards,  Bob Smith ’85

Sent 8/7/2017


Class of ’85,

It is only a few weeks away from the kickoff of the 2017 Navy Football Season. As always, we look forward to another great year for our Mids and another great year for the Class of ’85 and fall tailgates. It has become a great tradition for our Class to get together now at all the Navy home games and as many away games as we can. I appreciate the generosity in the off season to fund the new class tent. We will have our tent up at all home games this year and hopefully it will be used more to block the the sun than shelter from rain or cold weather. In any case, we will be fully ready this year and are now an “All Weather Class”. The first home game is a 3:30 pm game on September 9th against Tulane. We will do a catered tailgate to kick off the season and to  welcome classmates in town for a memorial golf tournament honoring Kevin Bianchi and his family. I am in the process of arranging the menu, but the food will be good and we will have cold beer on tap and a small wine selection as well. As we get closer, I will publish more details on each tailgate and will have news up on the class website and via social media. I will ask that we continue the tradition of putting money in our cash box at each home tailgate to help pay as we go for the food and beverages that the class and class fund will help provide again this season. If anyone has interest in coordinating a tailgate at any away games, PLEASE contact me and I will provide full support.

I am proud to announce the kickoff for registration for the Navy v. Notre Dame Game in San Diego 2018. The game itself is October 27, 2018, and our Class will have a full weekend of events in addition to the game itself. So far, I have a block of 50 rooms at the Westin San Diego Gas Lamp District from Thursday the 25th through Sunday the 28th. I have personally visited this hotel and it is a beautiful facility in the heart of the Gas Lamp District. We will have a Friday evening cocktail party at an outdoor space at the hotel and will also have a pre and post game tailgate party at the Quad Ale House only a block from the hotel starting Saturday morning. I will get a block of tickets from NAAA as well as bus transport to and from the Quad Ale house. You can reserve rooms in our Class Block (room rate of $249 per night plus fees and taxes) at the following link: https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/events/start.action?id=1707110058&key=22EF9EF9  As we get closer to the event, I will be running a sign up for the Friday night party, the Saturday tailgate and game, game tickets, bus transport and I am hoping to put on a golf outing either Thursday or Friday before the game. We may also do a kickoff event on Thursday at a local pub (and there are quite a few!). When you reserve your room DO NOT input your SPG ( Starwood preferrred group) info into this website, just register without adding this information and you can arrange your stay credits and points with the hotel closer to or at check-in. Doing so will cause an issue with completing your registration. (The Westin knows about this and are working on it). By next year, this hotel will be under the Marriott Brand and you will be able to collect Marriott points, but wait until next year.

I am currently coordinating with the Waikiki Beach Marriott in Honolulu for hosting our Class gathering in Hawaii for the September 1, 2018, football game in Oahu vs. the University of Hawaii. There will be a full week of class events we are currently working on and I will be sharing details as soon as I have them. So, mark your calendars and get your plans in place to travel next season; both to Hawaii and San Diego. For now, register for your room in San Diego so if I need more rooms I can get them before they sell out. There is a large medical convention in town that week in San Diego and it was a chore to find a place to host this event as many of the large hotels would not work with me for that reason. Good news, the Westin will and and it is a GREAT hotel, GREAT location. This will be an extremely fun weekend!

More news coming soon about the Class election, Tom Plofchan will be forwarding me the nomination info soon and I will turn things over to USNAA to assist with the actual ballot procedure. For now, make your plans to be at the Navy home opener in September and get your room in San Diego reserved now. As always, you may contact me with anything you need or questions about anything Class of ’85 related: 502-432-6185 or robertsmith5@att.net or on Facebook. Go Navy, Beat Tulane!

Bob Smith ’85

Sent 3/23/2017

Class of ’85,

I am completely humbled and thankful to those who stepped up and help us meet AND exceed our goal of $18,500 for purchase of our new Class of ’85 Tailgate tent. We raised $22,345 from 104 Classmates. This money will fully fund the new Class of ’85 Tent and help me to maintain it as well as make further upgrades to the Class Tailgate experience. All but the $1,000 fee from GoFundMe will go into the Class Account via our Class treasurer Tim Kane. All money is accountable and spent via “two person” control through Tim and I in coordination with Linda Reyes at USNAA accounting. I will keep everyone updated and look forward to dedicating the new tent at our first home football game later this year. GREAT JOB once again and those of you who donated $500 or more, will see your name printed proudly on the new tent.

Next matter of business, in planning for a West Coast Class gathering for the Navy v. Notre Dame game in San Diego, CA next October 27, 2018; I discovered that there is one of the largest conventions of the year in San Diego that same weekend. Many of the large hotels are already sold out or unable to give us a block of rooms. I did find a few suitable hotels near the bayfront/gaslamp district that will work with us. I would like to run a “straw poll” as to who might attend this weekend and who would attend a waterfront Friday Event at the hotel. This will help me plan for the size of a room block and event planning. You are in no way obligated and remember that we open the season in Hawaii on September 1st and will also have a class gathering that weekend in Honolulu too. (if you plan right, you have 2 months to recover from Hawaii before the ND weekend….I will be at both). I am also in negotiations with hotels in Hawaii, but the San Diego situation is time critical as I forsee the entire downtown potentially getting sold out that weekend. As always, we will do a pre-game event and have buses to and from the game like we did in Jacksonville and I will work with NAAA to get a block of game tickets. For now, if you could please email me at: robertsmith5@att.net to let me know if you want a room (Thurs or Fri-Sun) and would attend a Friday night event and how many attending. If you don’t plan on staying at the hotel but still want to attend the Friday event, I would like to know that. The hotel rate is going to be around $240 per night. You will not find cheaper in the gaslamp district or on the bayfront for a decent hotel based on my conversations with several sales managers at the nice hotels.

Thanks for this and we will actuall do sign ups later this year for the San Diego trip as well as Hawaii, but for now, I need to get a contract going to ensure we can get a block of rooms and waterfront event space and beat the rush from other Navy and ND fans. Thanks again for making the GoFundMe campaign successful and for supporting what we do as “The Class with Class”. Go Navy and I look forward to hearing from you.  Regards,  Bob Smith

Sent 3/20/2017

Hello Class of ’85,

I first want to apologize that my previous email was sent in triplicate. The Alumni Association was in the middle of a major tech update and I was the first person to try the new system to send a classwide email. I helped them find one of the “bugs” in the new system unfortunately. I have been assured the system is fixed, so hopefully this email only reaches you one time. I know how annoying constant repeat emails can be and I NEVER want to annoy any of you trust me!

First, I want to say thank you to the 48 donors to our USNA ’85 Class Tent GoFundMe campaign. As of this morning, we are at 65% of our fundraising goal or $11,885 of the $18,500 needed to get this done. That is ONLY about 5% of the class giving so far. I was, however, hoping for a more robust response to this request and I know it’s out there. I have been Class President for over 15 years now and have made every attempt to put this class as one of the best among alumni groups for reunion attendance as well as for fall tailgating and class travel. The Dublin trip in 2012 was a HUGE success, the class reunions (even one in the middle of a hurricane) have been very successful, fall tailgating has been someething we take great pride in and as a rule, we always have a place for all of you to come and call your class gathering place at each home game (some tailgates are bigger than others, but all remain well organized and attended), our class gatherings in Jacksonville this past fall and at all Army/Navy games and other select away games have all been very well attended and those who were there know the value of having a quality event. My point is simple: I have put in tremendous effort, as have those others who have volunteered, to make our Class #1 and I feel good about that goal and our efforts; I am now asking all of you to roll up your sleeves and help me out on this one by donating to the new class tent.

This tent is an investment for future tailgating excellence. Instead of me paying someone $2000 or more to rent a tent as needed for poor weather or large tailgates a few times each season, we will have a tent I can have professional put up at all home tailgates and it will last 20 years or more years. The tent has sides with windows (you can see what the tent looks like at our GoFundMe web link) for those blustery or rainy weekends so those attending can remain warm and dry; or have a shady spot on an 85 degree sunny day. Seeing our Class Crest displayed proudly in Navy Colors will also provice our class with a great source of pride and a homing beacon for those who do not attend regularly but expect a great tailgate when they do attend. We will continue to improve on our Class of ’85 tailgating experience and I have an energized group of local volunteers who took over this effort at the end of last season and they are ready to continue making strides to continually improve and upgrade the ’85 Tailgate. We are looking at having a Satellite connection and TV at our tailgate once again this season (having a tent to house this equipment is important), I will also continue to have FREE beer and wine at each home tailgate along with special catered tailgates a few times each year. I need the other 95% of our class who have not had the chance to donate to go to: https://www.gofundme.com/USNA85Tent and DONATE!!

Be generous in your giving so I can close out this effort and move on to other important class business: Class elections, the Navy game in Hawaii in 2018, the Navy game vs. Notre Dame in San Diego in 2018, this year’s Army/Navy Tailgate, etc., the next Class Reunion (the Big 35th). You get it….

Next, just one more plug while I am on the “Giving” bandwagon. I just renewed my President’s Circle Donation for 2017 (By giving $2500 to the USNA Alumni Association/Foundation), but this year I designated 100% of this donation to Athletic Excellence and it gained me access to the Yeager Pavilion for all home games as well as a priority for game ticket purchase for Army/Navy and other away games. If interested, email Matt Goff at NAAA, matt.goff@usna.com or call him at: 410-293-8963 and support our Navy Athletes. My plea to you is to give back to USNA no matter what you designate it for. Our Federal tax dollars only fund the basics at USNA and Alumni donations continue to be the life blood for the things that make USNA the greatest among service Academies and the best damn Univeristy in the World. Being a President’s Circle Member is a great experience and you get a weekend each football season that you are invited to join other PC members and are treated to special events and behind the scenes tours. My wife and I LOVE the experience and you will too. Give what you can and it all helps as you can see each time you step on the yard or attend a sporting event.

I look forward to closing out our GoFundMe campaign soon (so I can stop talking about money), if we go over the goal (which I hope we do), I will use that money for tailgate upgrades. It will be capped at $20,000, so don’t be worried just keep hitting the “Donate” button! I once again appreciate those who have given so generously and those who are about to give right after reading this email. If you give $500 or more, you will get your name printed on the “Donor Wall” of our tent so that others can appreciate your donation as much as I do. My name is the first among the $500 donors. Go Navy, as always, and stay tuned for more class news in the weeks ahead. Regards,  Bob Smith Your Proud Class President