Navy Cmdr. Michael P. Ward II, who has been accused of having an affair with a 23-year-old Chesapeake, Va. woman and faking his death as a means of ending it, has been relieved of his duties as the commanding officer of the USS Pittsburgh, just one week after he was put in command.The Navy issued a pro forma comment.
According to a press release from the Navy, Capt. Vernon Parks, commander of Submarine Development Squadron 12, relieved Ward on Aug. 10I expect that the Navy has him on a legal technicality, or at least lying to a superior officer to cover his adulterous affair, which is usually the case. However, for the sake of this post, let us assume not and it is just the affair and he fact he lied to her.due to lack of confidence in Ward's ability to command based upon allegations of personal misconduct on the part of Ward.
Our thanks to The Stars and Stripes and reporters Karen Florin and Jennifer McDermott for this report.
So here are the elements of UCMJ Article 134:
Elements.From this I would think that if Private First Class Schmedlap is porking some farmer's wife, 50 miles from the base or post, while off duty, and neither the farmer nor his wife has any connection to the military, this article doesn't apply. (WARNING: I am not a lawyer.)
(1) That the accused wrongfully had sexual intercourse with a certain person;
(2) That, at the time, the accused or the other person was married to someone else; and
(3) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
The question is, in 2012, do we think officers having affairs should be relieved of duty and Court Martialed, and perhaps even discharged?
And because the first question is usually just a scene setter, if "Yes", where else would we apply this approach?
Of course, the flip side of this is that the USS PITTSBURG is a nuclear powered attack submarine, perhaps equipped with nuclear weapons. I dislike it when people like Commander Michael P. Ward, II, put us in these ethical corners.
Regards — Cliff
PS: Jack, "All officers are [fill in the blank] and deserve it" is not a sufficient answer.