Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II was relieved of his duties aboard the USS Pittsburgh a week after taking command after it was discovered that he faked his own death to end an affair he was carrying on with a mistress.
Ward, who was dismissed last month as commander of a Connecticut-based nuclear submarine, reportedly sent his mistress an email from a non-existent person named Bob in July. Posing as a co-worker, the commander used the pseudonym “Bob” to tell the woman that Ward had died unexpectedly, according to a report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh's submarine group in Groton, told reporters that Ward has received a letter of reprimand for adultery and other military violations.
Ward, a 43-year-old Buffalo native, was assigned to a submarine group in Groton before his mistress learned that he was still alive. As a result, the unnamed woman turned up at Ward's former residence in Burke, Va., to offer condolences. The new owner told her that Ward had moved to Connecticut to take command of a submarine.
"She was very surprised," Jon Boyle, the new owner, told AP in a telephone interview.
According to the news outlet, Boyle described the mistress as a female in her 20s who showed up ccompanied by another woman with a child. Having reportedly driven 3 1/2 hours from Chesapeake, Va., they told Boyle that they had been “good friends and they'd known him a while."
Ward had been working at the Joint Chief of Staff in Washington when he met the woman through an online dating service in October. He reportedly used an alias to communicate with her by email, the investigation says. The report, obtained by AP, goes on to say that The married officer visited her during trips to the Norfolk, Va., area for training and spent a weekend together in Williamsburg, Va., in November.
Ward had learned his mistress was pregnant after moving to Connecticut to command the submarine. In late July, he met with her in Washington to discuss how to handle the pregnancy, but the woman lost the baby because of complications, the investigation report says.
Ward was found guilty of Uniform Code of Military Justice violations including dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct and adultery, and received the punitive letter of reprimand, Cragg said.
"The Navy doesn't kid around with its leadership," U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat whose eastern Connecticut district includes the submarine base, told AP. "These positions, to command submarines, are very competitive and I think the Navy is right to hold people to the highest standard."