Air Force Sergeant Under Fire Over Playboy Spread

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," January 12, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Now for a "Big Story" exclusive: an Air Force sergeant stripped of her duties after posing nude for Playboy.

The February issue of Playboy hits the newsstands this week and inside you'll find pictures of Sergeant Michelle Manhart wearing her dog tags, yelling at recruits and totally naked. There are many pictures in barracks but never before of the drill sergeant.

The Air Force says Manhart's actions do not meet its high standards. Michelle Manhart says she didn't do anything wrong and she's with me now for her first national TV interview.

So Michelle, you're still Sergeant Manhart?


GIBSON: The Air Force says that by doing this you didn't meet its standards. Is there some rule you violated?

MANHART: To my knowledge, no, I'm not aware of any rule. I understand that maybe they feel I haven't met their standards, but to my knowledge there is no rule that I broke.

GIBSON: Now, why did you pose for Playboy?

MANHART: This has been a lifelong dream of mine, being in modeling, being, possibly getting into acting. When I was really young I looked at getting into Playboy, not then of course, but I looked at a Playboy magazine and I just thought, you know, growing up and looking into the modeling career field, I thought, wow, Playboy is definitely you know the top, the cream of the crop. It's just beautiful, everything about Playboy is beautiful, from the interviews to pictures, everything. And I pursued it and a little more actively recently and got in.

GIBSON: Now, Michelle, if I've got this straight, you're married and you have a couple kids.

MANHART: Yes sir.

GIBSON: What does your husband think about this?

MANHART: Like any husband, I imagine, he's very supportive. When I originally came to him with the idea, he was supportive. He has got his opinions like everyone has opinions but as a family, we all support each other in everything that we do. And he's been supportive.

GIBSON: Ok, what about your recruits? What about the young people under you in your job as an Air Force sergeant?

MANHART: Well, I have not spoke to anybody since I came forward to my chain of command with this. So I don't know what the reactions are to individuals that I have pushed as trainees and those individuals became airmen. I don't know what there reactions are other than things that I have received, the e-mails and etc.

GIBSON: Do you regret doing this at all?

MANHART: Oh definitely not. There is nothing about it that I regret. Not even for a second did I think or have I thought, I wish I wouldn't have done it. I have never since the day I did it up until even current I wouldn't turn back for a second. I'm living out my dream and I think it's important for everyone to do that.

GIBSON: And you expect to be reinstated to your duties in the Air Force?

MANHART: I really don't know. I haven't heard anything as of yet. I know that they removed my hat and removed me from my position, from my duties and I'm currently on leave, just pending investigation.

GIBSON: Michelle Manhart, good luck. Thanks very much.

MANHART: Thank you very much.

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