HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Told that her lover had died, the young woman drove for hours to the man's home in Virginia, traveling with her mother and sister to offer condolences.
But the man who answered the door said her friend, Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II, was alive and hardly ailing: He had moved to Connecticut to take command of a U.S. Navy submarine.
"She was very surprised," said Jon Boyle, who bought the house from Ward in Burke, Va.
An investigation by the Navy found that Ward faked his own death to end the eight-month affair, according to documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. Ward was dismissed as commanding officer of the USS Pittsburgh in August, 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.
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. Details of the affair were first reported by The Day of New London.
Ward, a 43-year-old Buffalo native, is assigned to a submarine group in Groton. He has not responded to requests for comment.
According to investigators who interviewed the mistress, she traveled to Ward's former home with her relatives. Boyle, the new owner, recounted that the woman said they had driven 3 1/2 hours from Chesapeake, Va., to pay their respects.
"They said they wanted to offer their condolences. I said, 'I don't think he's dead,'" Boyle said.
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 said. 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.
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 said.
Investigators said the relationship ended in late July, but Ward stayed in touch with the woman by phone and email to "manage the particulars of the relationship" even after taking command of the submarine.
The documents don't indicate whether the woman knew Ward was married.
"Commander Ward's dishonesty and deception in developing, maintaining, and attempting to end his inappropriate relationship … were egregious and are not consistent with our Navy's expectations of a commissioned officer," wrote Navy Capt. Vernon Parks, commander of a submarine development squadron.
Cragg said the investigation began when a relative of Ward's mistress contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Craig reported that 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.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat whose eastern Connecticut district includes the submarine base, said it is a sad situation.
"The Navy doesn't kid around with its leadership," he said. "These positions, to command submarines, are very competitive and I think the Navy is right to hold people to the highest standard."
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
1 of 31
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
3 of 31
4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
4 of 31
5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
5 of 31
6 of 31
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
19 of 31
20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
20 of 31
21. Bae #retailtherapy
21 of 31
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31