Cheating Like a Sailor

In this modern age, where we veer ever further from a common understanding of mores and proper societal behavior, it is good to see that adultery is still considered wrong by at least one branch of our nation’s military:

A [married] Navy officer who was dismissed last month as commander of a Connecticut-based nuclear submarine faked his own death to end an affair he was carrying on with a mistress, investigation documents show.


“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.

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.

Kudos to the Navy for recognizing that people who are unfaithful in marriage should not be sub commanders.

2 thoughts on “Cheating Like a Sailor

  1. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) still considers adultery a criminal offense, so it’s “officially” wrong in all branches of the military.

    It is rarely prosecuted, however, unless there are aggravating circumstances – the person with whom adultery was committed is the spouse of another service member, or the adultery also violates proscriptions on fraternization, or it compromises security. One of the reasons for not going after every instance is that it would involve the DoD is domestic disputes that are often merely he-said/she-said affairs and the DoD ends up becoming a tool for one spouse or the other exacting some kind of vengeance.

    In this instance, it was the egregious breach of integrity. The whole, lame, “your boyfriend died” nonsense after he found out his mistress was pregnant – it’s the response of somebody in panic mode and calls into question how he would function in stressful situations that are an inherent part of being in command. We need people who can provide calm, rational decision-making and leadership when everything’s breaking loose, not people who panic and try to duck their responsibility.

    It is also likely that in this instance, both the wife AND the mistress are ticked off and their desires will have a significant impact on the decision to prosecute adultery cases.

    It looks like this went to an Admiral’s Mast (non-judicial punishment) rather than a court. In addition to a punitive letter of reprimand, he was likely fined (probably 1/2 month’s pay for 2 months – around $6-7,000), and the article indicates they are moving to forcibly remove him from the service. That means an “administrative separation” and likely under other-than-honorable conditions. If he’s not already at 20 years, then this means he will lose his pension and, depending on how the VA rules regarding his conduct he might even lose his pension if he’s over 20 years (that would be around $3-4,000/month for the rest of his life that he would be denied). He’ll lose most of his other VA benefits, too.

    In other words, the Admiral threw the book at him, big time.

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