The DIA Retirees Luncheon Group was formed 17 years ago with just few members. Over the years the group has become known for the informal monthly luncheon gatherings on the second Tuesday of each month at the Route 1 Applebee’s Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia. Applebee’s always manages to make special accommodations for seating of the group in the restaurant. These gatherings began with DIA analysts Dr. Pete Scop, Bill Wheeler, Donald McKinney, Don Lewis, and Ed Speiden; however, soon after, the group gatherings expanded in membership. The gatherings have been continuous over the years since the beginning. The after-luncheon group photo started by Dana Sweet has continued as a regular feature of the monthly gathering. Currently there are about 60 members on the group mailing list. Sixteen members attended the last group luncheon in February.
From the early days, the appeal of the luncheon group has been the informality and the opportunity to renew bonds of respect and friendship formed over many years during work careers at DIA. The group promotes continuous communications between luncheon group members who are mainly DIA retirees. However, one group member who regularly attends the luncheons is Bill Weizel, an NSA retiree, who maintained long time close intelligence working relationships with Dr. Pete Scop and Bill Wheeler. Group members share certain values and common background expertise by having worked in a closed community as career intelligence professionals. The luncheons have promoted staying in touch with intelligence community happenings and keeping up with each other, as well as, maintaining friendships.
Between luncheons, group members exchange emails on various topics, usually published items related to defense, intelligence, or science and technology.
The group is still growing in numbers and continuing the tradition of informal monthly meetings although it has lost two regular attendees, Bill Wheeler (2010) and Dana Sweet (2012), who are now deceased. For many years Dana Sweet took the lead in announcing the monthly meetings to all members of the group via email. Since 2012, Don Lewis has assumed this role. Nick Bennett is now the “official” photographer for the group replacing Dana. Don may be contacted at email@example.com for further information.
Defense Intel Alumni Association PO Box 354, Charlotte Court House, VA 23923