Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

September 18, 2012

Navy: Sub commander faked death to end affair

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Navy officer who was dismissed last month as commander of a Connecticut-based nuclear submarine faked his own death to end an affair he was carrying on with a mistress, investigation documents show.

Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II was relieved of his duties aboard the USS Pittsburgh a week after taking command of the attack submarine.

Investigators found that Ward sent his mistress an email from a fictitious person named "Bob" in July, saying 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, said Ward has received a letter of reprimand for adultery and other military violations, and paperwork has been filed to remove him from the Navy.

Details of the affair were first reported by The Day of New London.

Ward, who is currently assigned to a submarine group in Groton, has not responded to requests for comment.

The woman learned that Ward was still alive when she 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, said in a telephone interview.

Boyle said the woman was accompanied by another woman with a child in tow. "She told me they were good friends and they'd known him a while."

Ward, who had been working at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, met the woman through an online dating service in October and used an alias to communicate with her by email, the investigation report says. The married officer visited her during trips to the Norfolk, Va., area for training and they spent a weekend together in Williamsburg, Va., in November. The woman was not named.

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