Warren Marik, Signals Intelligence Specialist & CIA Case Officer
Marching to his own drummer, yet inexplicably drawn to the military, a football jock with his nose in a history book, a seeker of hierarchy but not one who could suffer fools in authority, gladly, the young Warren’s career path was not evident.
Marik ascribes JROTC [Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps] at St. John’s Academy and the US Military, in particular, the US Army’s Defense Language Institute, as key in finding a satisfying career first in Signals Intelligence and then in Human Intelligence.
Sergeant Warren J. Marik served in TUSLOG [The US Logistics Group] in Turkey and in the 8th Army Security Agency in Vietnam in the late ‘60s, working closely with the NSA [National Security Agency] on signals intelligence and later in the Middle East as a case officer for the CIA, much of his career spanning the Cold War.
Growing up in Lyons, Illinois, an immigrant Czech community, Sergeant Marik was immersed in an international environment from an early age. After doing a brief stint at West Point following St. John’s and after playing football at the University of Illinois, Marik requested to attend the Army’s language school, upon the advice of his Russian language teacher. There he studied Turkish and was then trained as a traffic analyst at Fort Devens, Massachusetts learning how to work with the NSA [National Security Agency].
Sergeant Marik served abroad in Sinop, Turkey, on a purple or international base where he monitored signals from Soviet ICBM [Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles] test ranges operating from Plesetsk and Kapustan Yar. During this time, he continued his study of Turkish, translating the speeches of Ataturk, which he later used for his master’s thesis. He then worked briefly in Homestead, Florida, watching alleged Cuban operatives, before requesting a transfer to Vietnam -- wanting to work abroad again. His roles including intercepting messages from the National Liberation Front, working closely with NSA civilians rather than Army officers.
After completing his time in the service, Sergeant Marik returned to school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne and obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science to be followed by a master’s degree in international relations, University of Utah. Knowing that he loved living and working abroad, he went to work for the CIA and continued to serve his country as a case officer in the Middle East for twenty-five years. He relished quirky, human interactions such as the “walk-ins” of the disaffected locals, some of high office, offering their services to the US as long as they could immigrate there. He also appreciated his wife’s active role in hosting social events – a key in learning about the people and culture where the CIA agent is based.
Now retired, Sergeant Marik encourages young people to expand their horizons by learning a language. He is involved with his alma mater, St John’s Northwestern Military Academy, and with the VFW.