GROTON, Conn. (CBS Connecticut/AP) — A commanding officer in the Navy has been relieved of his duties after being accused of faking his own death in order to end an affair.
Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II was relieved as commanding officer of the USS Pittsburgh on Friday based on “allegations of personal misconduct.” He had taken command of the attack submarine a week earlier.
The Day reports that the married Ward, 43, met the 23-year-old woman from Virginia on a dating website last October. The woman told the paper that Ward got her pregnant and faked his own death through an email in order to end the relationship.
“I don’t want revenge here,” the unidentified 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.”
The woman claims she received an email from a colleague of Ward’s in July that stated: “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.”
After learning of the allegations, the Navy relieved Ward of his duties as commanding officer.
“Our Navy has a very clear and unambiguous standard regarding the character of our commanding officers, spelled out in the Charge of Command,” Capt. Vernon Parks said in a press release to the paper. “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.”
Cmdr. Michael Savageaux, who held the position until Aug. 3, has resumed command of the Pittsburgh.
Ward has been reassigned to administrative duties. He has not responded to a request for comment.
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