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Date published: 9/19/2012
HARTFORD, Conn.--A Navy officer who was dismissed last month as commander of a Connecticut-based nuclear submarine faked his own death to end an affair 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, posing as a co-worker and 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 Pittsburgh.
Ward, a 43-year-old Buffalo native, is assigned to a submarine group in Groton.
The woman learned that Ward was still alive when she turned up at Ward's former residence in the Virginia community of Burke, 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 appeared to be in her 20s and was accompanied by another woman with a child, and they said they had driven 31/2 hours from Chesapeake.
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 area for training and they spent a weekend together in Williamsburg in November.
After moving to Connecticut, Ward learned that his mistress was pregnant. In late July, he met with her in Washington to discuss how to handle the pregnancy. Soon afterward the woman lost the baby because of complications, the investigation report says.
Investigators said the relationship ended in late July, but Ward stayed in touch with the woman by phone and email even after taking command of the submarine.
Ward was found guilty of Uniform Code of Military Justice violations on Sept. 5, including dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct and adultery, and received the punitive letter of reprimand, Cragg said.