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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 05:45 GMT
Playboy airwoman relieved of duty
Michelle Manhart
Michelle Manhart modelled before joining the air force
A US Air Force sergeant who appears nude in the latest edition of Playboy magazine has been stood down from duties as an investigation begins.

Michelle Manhart, 30, is pictured in a range of poses, some while wearing uniform and striking a military pose, others while stripped naked.

The air force said in a statement her actions "does not meet the high standards we expect of our airmen".

Ms Manhart said she did not expect to be disciplined and defended the photos.

Ms Manhart, who is married with two children, appears in the February issue of Playboy's US edition.

In a six-page spread she is photographed in camouflage uniform shouting and holding weapons under the headline "Tough Love".

Other pictures are more explicit.

Dismay

She defended her decision to pose for the magazine, pointing out that she works in training air force recruits and has served her country since 1994.

They picked me to train these individuals so if they elect to say I don't have [integrity] then that's their opinion
Michelle Manhart

"Of what I did, nothing is wrong, so I didn't anticipate anything, of course," she told the Associated Press.

"I didn't do anything wrong, so I didn't think it would be a major issue.

"They picked me to train these individuals so if they elect to say I don't have [integrity] then that's their opinion."

Oscar Balladares, a spokesman for Lackland Air Force Base, denounced her actions in a statement.

"This staff sergeant's alleged action does not meet the high standards we expect of our airmen, nor does it comply with the Air Force's core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

"It is not representative of the many thousands of outstanding airmen who serve in the US Air Force today."

A Playboy spokeswoman said two serving women have posed nude in the past, both from the navy.

One was discharged a few months early in June 2000, while the first model was honourably discharged in 1998.


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