This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," February 6, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: So what may have driven a brilliant woman to commit such a desperate, bizarre act? Astronaut retired Navy commander John Herrington knows [Lisa Nowak]. They were classmates at NASA. He joins us. Welcome, sir.
JOHN HERRINGTON, TRAINED AT NASA WITH NOWAK: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Your thoughts about her tonight.
HERRINGTON: Just absolutely stunned. I mean, Lisa is, I think, a wonderful person, very caring, very giving. And I was absolutely shocked when I heard about it today.
VAN SUSTEREN: When did you first meet her?
HERRINGTON: In 1996. We were in the same class (INAUDIBLE) group of astronauts were selected, so...
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you describe her habits, her work habits?
HERRINGTON: Hard-working, just like everybody that comes to the office. Everybody has worked really hard in their career, and they get on board and there's a lot of studying. And people work together really closely as a class. So it — the same as everybody else.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know Ms. Shipman, who is apparently...
VAN SUSTEREN: You've never met her? She's not in your...
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the man who at least is suggested to be a part of this — you know, involved — I mean, his name has been brought into it as a possible target of her affection.
HERRINGTON: I know Billy Oefelein, but he was in the class after me, and it wasn't in a class, like I was with Lisa. But you know, Billy's a great guy. You know, worked in the office, as well. And it just — it's sad for everybody to have to be in this position and what's going on right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. She went up in July on Discovery. When she came — when you come back from these trips, what kind of tests do they put you through? I mean, is there any way to determine, you know — you know, whether you had any trouble up in space?
HERRINGTON: Well, there's certain physical tests they put you through, but in terms of psychological tests — you know, I was up for about two weeks, and I came back and had certain physical tests that I did. But in terms of psychological tests, there's nothing they really do. I mean, you've worked really hard. You've done what you did. You get this warm and fuzzy for flying in space. It's a very good feeling. And you go out and you share that with the public, and that's what you do. That's part of what our job is.
VAN SUSTEREN: How grueling is it physically to go up there?
HERRINGTON: I wouldn't say it's grueling physically. It's just — it's mentally demanding. It's challenging. You have a huge amount of things to do in a very short period of time. But when you do those things successfully, you do them well, it's a huge feeling of satisfaction for you and your whole team.
VAN SUSTEREN: So this is just totally bizarre to you.
HERRINGTON: Yes, absolutely bizarre. Absolutely bizarre.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you talked to any of the other former astronauts who know her?
HERRINGTON: No, ma'am. Not today.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's — it's so — it's sad, I mean, to see someone who's achieved so much.
HERRINGTON: I think sad is an understatement. It really is. It's just — you know, it just boggles the mind that something like this and people you work with (INAUDIBLE) can happen to. And I just — I feel for her. I feel for her family. I feel for everybody that's involved in this.
VAN SUSTEREN: And a brilliant woman, not that — I mean, valedictorian of her class. (INAUDIBLE) start back in high school, and you bring it all the way through her whole career. She's just at the top of everything.
HERRINGTON: Yes. Yes. It's — I think it's indicative of people in the office that they work really hard throughout their career. And to come to this and to this point in their life and to achieve that, it makes it even more shocking that something like this can happen, so...
VAN SUSTEREN: In some ways, you can almost see sort of the close-knit nature of the — of astronauts. There were two astronauts who were in court with her today.
HERRINGTON: Yes. Yes. Steve Lindsey (ph) is the chief of the office now. The thing about NASA is that they treat everybody as a family. You know, if something happens to them, no matter what it is, you know, you want to support your family, and they're doing that. And I think it's a very good thing that NASA does. Now, however it plays out in the courts, that's just the way it is. But as a group, they come together and they take care of their own.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think is the impact on this, on the astronauts.
HERRINGTON: Man, I can't — on the astronauts? It hurts. I mean, it hurts everybody. People wonder why it happened. And what the ramifications (INAUDIBLE) I don't know. That's out of our control.
VAN SUSTEREN: And there's just nothing peculiar about her at all.
HERRINGTON: No, not at all. She's a fabulous person. We used to have these get-togethers that she'd bring folks over in the class to her house and have these — she's a fabulous cook. She makes some just incredible desserts. And just a really, really nice person.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know her husband?
HERRINGTON: Yes, he works there, as well, at JOC, a great guy, ex- Navy, and just a good family.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kids?
HERRINGTON: They have twins and they have an older boy.
VAN SUSTEREN: About how old are the children?
HERRINGTON: Oh, gosh, I think Alexander's (ph) probably about 10, 11. And I'm not sure how old the twins are.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly — I mean, it's distressing. You don't have to know her to feel distressed tonight for her and for her family. John, thank you.
HERRINGTON: You're welcome.
VAN SUSTEREN: It is horrible to watch someone self-destruct. Astronaut Lisa Nowak was at the very top, and now she's in deep trouble. Were there any signs? How does a successful person implode? What was this astronaut like growing up? Dennis Alloy knows her very well. He's a childhood friend who grew up with her. They even went to junior high school and high school together. He joins us. Nice to see you, sir.
DENNIS ALLOY, NOWAK'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: Nice to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: When did you first meet her?
ALLOY: Probably just prior to elementary school. We — my parents and her parents moved into the same neighborhood back in the late '60s.
VAN SUSTEREN: What was she like? Or what is she like?
ALLOY: She is — I have not spoken to her in quite a while. When we were together in high school, she was sweet, nice, motivated, hard-working. She was valedictorian, like you said, determined. She could have taken — you know, accepted at any college, and she went to the Naval Academy. I think she had a career in mind, what she wanted to do. She was a focused person. But yes, definition of sweet would be Lisa. I mean, she just was one of those people that you could get along with.
VAN SUSTEREN: I imagine that she's quite a role model in your community.
ALLOY: Well, we had a reunion last summer when she was going up in Discovery. we had a TV set up. Unfortunately, it was delayed a couple days, so she was — she had the only excuse not to be there. But, you know, to accomplish something that she's done and she's worked so hard for, you know, is something that we all aspire to. She definitely had the achievement of the class. And she has been a role model. I mean, I know - - I went to school with several male pilots, and I know what it takes for a female. They had a tough time. I can imagine what she had to go through to get to the space program.
VAN SUSTEREN: So how did you hear the news?
ALLOY: I got a phone call from my sister, Jane (ph), this morning about 6:00 o'clock. She just said, Turn on the news and check this out. And it was pure shock. I mean, that was the word you mentioned. Shock really describes it. You would never associate that event with Lisa. It just — you would never see that.
VAN SUSTEREN: From the outside, when you read about her, when you see the enormous accomplishments, married 19 years, three children — and NASA does — I mean it really is the best of the best.
ALLOY: She really has accomplished so much. You know, as a class, we were so proud of her. I mean, to do what she's done cannot be done that often. I feel for the parents and the family.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know the parents?
ALLOY: I have not kept in touch with the parents. I mean, I did know the parents, and you know, for them to deal with this, let alone be national headlines, is just — it's a great burden on them, and I feel for them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know — does she have siblings?
VAN SUSTEREN: Terrible — I mean, it's very — obviously, as I've said over and over, distressing understates it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dennis, thank you.
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