“With Mike Ward, it was a true shock,” Vincent said.
Ward’s girlfriend, a younger woman in Virginia, discovered that he had not died and had actually moved to Connecticut to take command of a submarine when she visited the house his family used to occupy in Virginia. A lawyer who represented Ward at the hearing, Navy Cmdr. Daniel Cimmino, said Ward’s wife and girlfriend spoke and the family was working through what they expected would remain a private issue.
Once the story came out, Cimmino said Ward was honest with his chain of command from the beginning.
“This man probably would have been an admiral someday, and he’s brought shame on himself and he knows that,” Cimmino said.
But a senior enlisted sailor from the USS Pittsburgh told the panel that Ward at first denied the accusations.
The sailor, Master Chief Chris Beauprez, said he received a call on the submarine from a sister of Ward’s girlfriend, who told him what Ward had done.
Beauprez said he told Ward about the call and Ward denied the woman’s allegations, then said he’d address the situation himself. Beauprez testified that he had an implicit trust in what his commander said so he didn’t take the matter any further.
Days later, he said, he heard Ward was being dismissed. The Navy has said the investigation began when a relative of Ward’s mistress contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
A fellow Navy officer who had gone through training with Ward, Cmdr. Anthony Moore, testified that he heard about the affair when news of it first surfaced — including the detail that Ward had used the name Tony Moore in an online dating profile that he used to meet the woman.
“I was very surprised,” Moore, who’s based on a submarine squadron in Washington state, told the board by telephone. “And frankly, I was a little concerned for my reputation.”