A Navy submarine commander is in hot water after he allegedly faked his death to end an extramarital affair.
Navy Cmdr. Michael Ward II, 43, met the 23-year-old woman on a dating website last October, according to the Connecticut newspaper the New London Day. Ward, who is is married with children, told the woman he was separated and worked in special ops, the paper reported.
"Our Navy has a very clear and unambiguous standard regarding the character of our commanding officers."
- Navy Capt. Vernon Parks
When Ward, who had only been named commander of the USS Pittsburgh a week earlier, realized he was in too deep, he allegedly contacted the woman by email purportedly from a co-worker named Bob. The email read:
"I am extremely sorry to tell you that he is gone. We tried everything we could to save him. I cannot say more. I am sorry it has to be this way."
"He loved you very much," 'Bob' continued. He goes on to say that Ward wanted her to have something.
On July 9, she drove to Ward's house in Burke, Va., to pay her respects, only to find out from the home's new owner that Ward had just relocated for his new job.
The Chesapeake, Va., woman said she contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service about the incident and provided copies of text messages and emails between her and Ward to The Day.
Text messages read "I want you, but I don't know how to make this all perfect," and "I love you and I always will," according to The Day.
"I don't want revenge here," the woman told The Day. "I want everyone to know the truth about Michael. He does not need to be commanding a submarine. He's a deceitful man."
Ward has since been reassigned to administrative duties because of the incident.
"Our Navy has a very clear and unambiguous standard regarding the character of our commanding officers, spelled out in the Charge of Command. I reviewed this charge with Cmdr. Ward before he assumed command. He understood the Navy's high standards for command leadership and he failed to uphold them," Navy Capt. Vernon Parks said in a press release.
When Ward took command of the ship, he said that it was the culmination of a lifelong dream.
After learning that Ward was still alive, the woman said she was hospitalized and discovered she was pregnant by Ward before losing the baby.
The woman didn't identify herself for fear of jeopardizing her career. Ward declined comment to The Day.